8 Questions to Ask Before Starting a Business

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You’re going through your Twitter feed when you come across an online shopping site, the idea of which you had thought of a couple of years before. Seeing how it’s become so popular in a few months’ time, you berate yourself for not having started it when you had the chance. But before you bawl your eyes out at the thought of opportunities lost, do a quick check of your entrepreneurial abilities. Running a business is a rewarding endeavour, but also a challenging one. We’ve listed down eight questions to help you find out whether entrepreneurship is really for you.

1. Why do I want my own business?
This is probably the most important question to ask of yourself. Be honest about the driving motivation behind your entrepreneurial aspirations. Is it because you want to quit your job and strike out on your own, help others by introducing a new product or service, or make loads and loads of money? Running a business can be fun and rewarding, but it also takes a lot of hard work. If it isn’t something close to your heart or something you truly believe in, then you might just find yourself folding up when challenges come a calling.

2. Do I have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurship ain’t for everyone. Even though you want to start a business oh so badly, if you lack certain personality traits, it may not just work out for you. An entrepreneur is a self-starter; having no boss or manager, he has to know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. An entrepreneur is a creative problem solver; he has the ability to think outside the box and wiggle himself out of a slew of challenges by coming up with a variety of plans. An entrepreneur is persistent; he’s not the type to give up easily. An entrepreneur takes risk; he likes testing the waters.

3. Do I really have a money-making idea? 
Ideas are a dime a dozen. Unfortunately, not all of them are good ones, and only a few are money-making ones. Big companies actually spend tons of money to make sure a product or service can generate a certain amount of revenue before it hits the market. So again, be honest. Just because it’s your idea doesn’t make it a good one. Get the feedback of those around you. Conduct your own market research. Check if your idea can bring in the cash—and if not, then move on and look for another one!

4. Is it a good time to start a business?
So okay, you are absolutely positive that your idea can bring in substantial revenue. You have allocated resources for your venture. You’ve tapped a group of enthusiastic people to join you on your crusade—and you’ve even got a couple of investors lined up. But is it the right time to launch your whiz-bang idea into the market? Is the market ready for it? Breastfeeding-oriented products, for example, are all the rage today. That’s because most moms are now aware about the merits of breast milk. But only 15 years ago, this wasn’t the case. Infant formula ruled. It’s all about the timing.

5. How much money will I need?
Do the math. Be realistic on how much capital you’ll need to get your business going. Plan for the next two, three, and five years to get an idea of your cash flow. This way, you’ll know whether you have enough capital to fund the business on your own or if you need to take out a loan, or bring in investors.

6. Where will I get money?
Most entrepreneurs fund their start-ups with their own money, usually their savings. Others borrow from relatives and friends. Fortunately for today’s generation of entrepreneurs, there are more financing options available to them. Seeing how entrepreneurs have contributed to the growth of the nation, some financial institutions have taken it upon themselves to help them succeed. BPI Family is one such institution. Through their Ka-Negosyo Business Loans, aspiring entrepreneurs can access funds on friendly terms to start their ventures.

7. How do I handle setbacks?
An entrepreneur knows how to roll with the punches. Running a business is a 24/7 thing. Not only does it take a significant amount of physical energy to manage a start-up enterprise, it also takes nerves of steel. When faced with a seemingly insurmountable obstacle, the entrepreneur doesn’t sulk in a corner. He doesn’t get discouraged or depressed. Instead he goes out punching, dancing around the problem until he ultimately finds a way.

8. What is your endgame?
Finally, how do you see yourself down the line? When you’ve proven yourself in the market and built a formidable venture, do you continue running on all cylinders—until you burn yourself out? Do you sell your successful venture—and retire in a tropical paradise? Or do you get a team of trusted lieutenants who could run the fort while you busy yourself chasing other ideas? Like it or not, once your business is running like a well-oiled machine, your constant presence may not be needed. It’s good to know when it’s time for you to ride off into the sunset.

BPI Family Ka-Negosyo has partnered with Mompreneur Manila to come up with a series of informative articles with the objective of educating and empowering mompreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs.

Image by Pong at freedigitalphotos.net

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