Starting a business can be an exciting step in your life, but it is also important to think about the questions that you should ask before you begin. These 15 questions will help guide you through the process of starting your own business and will make sure that everything goes smoothly when it comes to planning.


What is my end goal?

You should always have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish with your business long term. This could be anything from making a specific amount of money, building a certain type of product, or simply having fun doing something that you enjoy. Keep in mind that it is important to set up realistic short-term goals that will help you stay on track to meet your long-term goal.


What is my target market?

The best way to define your target market is by using the term “niche.” Your niche refers to a very specific group of people who might be interested in what you are selling or offering as a service. This can include age groups, geographical locations, genders, and more depending on how broad or narrow you want it to be. Being able to precisely identify this will allow you to better understand where most of your sales come from so that you know where to focus your advertising in the future.


Why should anyone buy from me instead of the competition?

This is a big question to ask yourself, and it can be answered in many different ways. Some people answer this by stating that they are the cheapest, have the best quality product, have better customer service or more features than their competition. Determining exactly why someone should buy from your business early on will help you to shape your company’s values and make decisions later on.


What (exactly) will I be selling?

Deciding what you’ll actually be selling can oftentimes get overlooked when planning a business. It’s important to understand that this is not just the type of product or service that your company offers, but also includes other details such as whether it will be online versus brick-and-mortar business if the sale will need to go through wholesale channels, etc. Being able to clearly define these things early on means less confusion down the road with employees, customers, and partners so taking some time out now to do so should pay off in the future.


What do I want my company to stand for?

This is an important question to ask yourself when starting a company. You don’t necessarily need to have your mission statement already written out, but you should be able to answer this in some way that makes sense for what you are trying to accomplish with the business. If everyone on your team can get behind it then they will be more inclined to work towards making that happen.


How much money do I need to start my business?

You should have a rough estimate of how much money you will need to get the business off the ground. You can make some changes along the way, but it is important that you at least try and figure this out before making any big financial decisions on your company. In most circumstances, it’s preferable to overestimate than underestimate. If you underestimate, unforeseen expenses may be a big issue for your business.


Am I ready for all of the responsibility that comes with owning a company?

If you are considering starting a company, it’s important to be aware of all of the responsibilities involved. Starting a business generally comes with long unpredictable hours, high stress, and frequent decision making. If you aren’t ready for this kind of lifestyle, it may not be the best time to start a business!


Do I have a backup plan in case my business does not work out?

Starting a business is no small feat, and there are many factors that need to be considered. If things don’t go the way you want them to in your business, it’s important to have a backup plan already prepared. If you know that you have no backup plan, you may be putting yourself in a situation where you’ll feel stuck and defeated if your business fails.


Do I have the skills necessary to run my company?

You’ve likely heard the saying that it takes years to become an overnight success. The same applies to starting a business! If you have all of the necessary skills to successfully run your company, then great. However, if not, now is the time to start learning them so that when you launch your business things will be easier. Keep in mind, however, that it is impossible to learn everything before starting a business. A lot of the most important skills can only be learned by actually running your business.


Who else will be involved?

Starting a business is always better with the help of other people. Whether you’re looking for an investor, or just need to outsource some tasks such as accounting, having another person involved can make things easier and more efficient. Before starting a business, it is important to determine who else will be involved (employees, partners, investors, etc.), and how much their involvement will cost. Do your research before committing to anyone, or you might end up in a situation where either they demand more than what was initially agreed upon, or you need them but can’t afford them anymore.


How much time will I need to put into the business?

Before starting a business, it is important to be aware of how much time you will need to put into the company. Some businesses are smaller and simple enough that they can easily fit in around your existing job or lifestyle, while others require so much dedication that quitting your day job might be the only way to get them done properly. Determining this upfront will ensure that your business is something you can manage.


Do I have enough money to sustain myself during the beginning stages of my business?

Another important question to ask yourself is whether you have enough money saved up in order to sustain yourself during the beginning stages of your business. Even if your company experiences slow growth at first, it will still require some amount of initial funding that can keep you afloat until things start becoming profitable. Without this necessary cash flow, trying to run a business is a very difficult task. In addition, you need to make sure that you have enough money to sustain yourself personally. If your business is not profitable at the moment, then either make sure that you have enough money saved up or consider finding a part-time job to pay for living expenses until it becomes profitable.


Will I need any licenses or permits to start this company?

If you are unsure about what type of licenses or permits you will need to start your business, then it is best to speak with a lawyer who can help clarify the situation for you. The last thing you want is to be caught without the appropriate licenses and permits in place, which can lead to additional expenses or even legal trouble.


What kind of legal structure should my business be under?

Once you figure out how many owners your business will have and the type of industry that it falls under, then you can determine what sort of legal structure is best suited for your company. For example, if only one person owns the company, then sole proprietorship may be an ideal choice; however, if multiple people are involved in owning this specific business, then a partnership may be the best option.


Do I have any mentors or advisors who can help me through this process?

Starting a business is no easy journey; however, having the help of someone who has been through this process before can make all of the difference. A mentor or advisor can provide valuable insight and knowledge that will ultimately come in handy during those difficult times when you may need outside assistance to figure out how best to proceed.


How long will it take to get the product or service ready?

A realistic timeline is crucial when starting a business. Setting expectations early for how long you think it will take to get the product or service ready is key to avoid any disappointment later. Not only will it help you feel more confident when committing to a timeline, but it will also allow your potential customers and partners alike the chance to understand what they can expect in terms of timing.


Whether you are just starting out or have been at it for a while, these questions can help you avoid some common pitfalls that people face during the early stages of starting a company. Asking yourself these tough questions now will help prevent more serious problems from arising in the future.

About Author

Tom Holt

Tom is an entrepreneur with a proven track record for starting and running successful companies. He has years of experience in the business world, including co-founding several successful software companies. Tom also provides consulting to other businesses on marketing, business development, and product development.