Ready to start a small business? Ask yourself these 13 questions first

small business coffeeshop

Finally, you’ve had the great business idea you’ve been waiting for, and you’re ready to become an entrepreneur!

Not so fast. It’s important that you start your entrepreneurship journey on the right foot. There are many things to know before you set up shop. Will your idea work as an actual business? Are you ready for the hard work and stress that comes with entrepreneurship?

Ask yourself these 13 questions before you start a small business

  1. What is most important to me in running a small business – making money or doing what I love?
  2. Do I have management or technical experience in a business similar to the business I want to start?
  3. Do I have any accounting or bookkeeping knowledge?
  4. How well do I handle risk?
  5. How do I cope with stress?
  6. Are my finances strong enough to support me if my small business doesn’t see income immediately?
  7. Do I have the support of my family and friends?
  8. Am I willing to work longer than usual to start my small business?
  9. How well do I lead or manage others?
  10. How adaptable am I?
  11. How do I make difficult decisions?
  12. Do I have a long-term plan for my small business?
  13. Do I have a business model?

If you’ve answered “no” to any of these questions, don’t worry! It’s actually a good thing. Knowing what you don’t know is important, and can help you find – and fix – critical gaps in your knowledge. Training in entrepreneurship skills will also increase your odds of success. After all, nearly one half of all small businesses close within two years of start-up in Canada, so equipping yourself with as many business skills as you can is always a good thing.

Share this post:

Is entrepreneurship really for you? Here’s how to find out

am i an entrepreneur

Entrepreneurship is a great dream for many Canadians. But the reality is, many Canadians are not ready for it – and that’s okay! It may be that you might be ready for it later on, after life circumstances change or you take small business training to learn the skills you don’t have yet.

How can you find out if you’re ready to be an entrepreneur? Download GoForth’s free Self-Assessment for Entrepreneurs to see if now is a good time to start your small business journey. We can’t predict if you’ll be a success, but taking an honest look at your situation right now will help you figure out your odds.

Share this post:

13 questions to ask before you start a small business

small-business-planning

Deciding that you’re going to become an entrepreneur is exciting. Finally, you’ve had the great business idea you’ve been waiting for!

But, wait. Not so fast. How do you know your business idea will work as an actual business? How do you know if you’re actually ready for the hard work and personal stress that comes with entrepreneurship? Ask yourself these 13 questions before you start a small business, to make sure that you’ve got the right foundation for success.

  1. How well do I handle risk?
  2. How do I cope with stress?
  3. Do I have the support of my family and friends?
  4. Am I willing to work longer than usual to start my small business?
  5. Are my finances strong enough to support me if my small business doesn’t see income immediately?
  6. Do I have management or technical experience in a business similar to the business I want to start?
  7. How well do I lead or manage others?
  8. Do I have any accounting or bookkeeping knowledge?
  9. What is most important to me in running a small business – making money or doing what I love?
  10. How adaptable am I?
  11. How do I make difficult decisions?
  12. Do I have a long-term plan for my small business?
  13. Do I have a business model?

If you’ve answered “no” to any of these questions, don’t lose heart! Knowing what you don’t know is important, and can help you determine the gaps in your knowledge. Training in entrepreneurship skills will also increase your odds of success. After all, nearly one half of all small businesses close within two years of start-up in Canada, so knowing as many business skills as you can will help reduce your risk.

For more, find out when a great business idea becomes a great business opportunity.

Share this post:

The 31 questions to ask yourself before you start a small business

Starting a small business is a big step, and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. We’ve compiled 31 questions that all entrepreneurs should ask themselves to ensure they’re on a promising path to small business success. Take some time to answer the questions below to determine if your great business idea will translate into a great business opportunity as well.

  1. Who will buy?
  2. Who are my customers?
  3. Are my customers other businesses, consumers, or both?
  4. Are the customers easily identified? Are they accessible through media? Is the market for this idea growing?
  5. Do social, technical, economic, political or environmental trends support this idea?
  6. Why will they buy?
  7. Does the idea solve a real and known problem?
  8. Does the idea satisfy a need in the marketplace?
  9. Will the idea be seen by my customers as clearly superior to that of competitors?
  10. Is our idea unique and innovative enough to become intellectual property for my business?
  11. Can we protect our intellectual property (our ideas and other things we create)?
  12. Will we be first to market with this idea?
  13. How much will they buy?
  14. How much does it cost to make — what are my variable costs?
  15. How much would it cost to run a company like this for a year — what are my fixed costs?
  16. How much would people pay for it?
  17. How many units will I have to sell to break even? Use the break-even formula: Break-even (in units) = fixed costs ÷ (unit selling Price – unit Variable cost)
  18. How much money do I need to start up this business?
  19. How long will it take before we can make a sale?
  20. How long will it take before we can generate a profit?
  21. How many can we sell in a year?
  22. Do I have the start-up capital? If not, do I have access to money from friends or family?
  23. Would I qualify for a loan?
  24. Can I afford to live until my company is profitable enough that I can draw a salary?
  25. Can I pull this off?
  26. Do my four Capital Factors (human, social, psychological and financial) support me running a business like this?
  27. Does my education, experience, and domain knowledge support this idea?
  28. Can I pull together a skilled team to help me start this business?
  29. Do I have access to the right people to hire?
  30. Do I want to run a business like this — do I have the passion?
  31. Is my spouse or partner supportive of me running a business like this?
Share this post:

The real realities of being an entrepreneur

At GoForth, our primary reason for existence is to give entrepreneurs the best small business training possible for success. So it was with considerable interest that we read a blog post by Chicago-based businessman Seth Kravitz, called 20 (More) Reality-Checking Questions for Would-Be Entrepreneurs.

The questions are geared towards those thinking of starting a small business and they don’t shy away from some harsh realities of entrepreneurship – working too hard, uncertainty, ideas that don’t pan out and dealing with stress.

We like this honesty. In our small business education, we encourage entrepreneurs to take a very honest look at themselves before starting out. Yes, starting your own business can be infinitely rewarding, both financially and personally. However, it can also be one of the most difficult things you’ll do. You might work harder than you had as someone else’s employee. You might put a strain on your relationships and finances. You might even give it a shot and eventually decide you’re not enjoying it anymore. These are all considerations you should make before starting your own small business.

We’re not Debbie Downers at GoForth; we’re realists. We want to make sure you approach the decision to become an entrepreneur with your eyes wide open – knowing in advance that the journey can be a bumpy one.  Remember – between your great idea and the grand achievement is the vast wasteland of grinding it out.

Our advice? Read Seth’s post and honestly assess yourself as a small business owner. And don’t lose heart – entrepreneurship isn’t easy, but you can take the most important first step and prepare yourself for the realities of starting and running a small business.

Share this post: