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Is your 2015 resolution to start your own business?

Start Your Own Business

Questions to ask before starting a business in 2015

While you can’t prepare yourself for every aspect of the entrepreneurial lifestyle, here are six important questions to ask before you quit your day job and dive in:

  • What’s your motivation?
  • How developed is your business savvy?
  • How thick is your skin?
  • Do things need to be perfect?
  • Are you willing to get your hands dirty?
  • What’s your financial situation?

The problem is that wanting to be the boss or make lots of money generally aren’t viable reasons for launching a business. A true entrepreneur starts a business in order to improve people’s lives and contribute value to the world. What’s your business idea? Are you solving a common pain point or making someone’s day better? The drive to add value will sustain you when times are tough.

A great product idea isn’t always enough to make a great business. Just because you develop something cool doesn’t mean that customers will instantly bang down your door to buy. When you are passionate about what you do, it is hard not to take criticism personally.

And yes, it sucks to get a bad press review, rejection from an incubator program or negative feedback from customers. However, bad news and rejection are part of the game, and you can’t afford to dwell on the negative or take anything personally.

When you work at a company, you can call someone else when your email isn’t working, you run out of printer ink or you need to set up a customer event. However, in the very early stages of your startup, you will typically need to handle most of these activities yourself, from tech support to sales to IT.

Depending on your business type, it can realistically take anywhere from six months to six years to build out your business, gain traction and turn a profit. You need to ask yourself if you have both the patience and financial situation to weather this kind of time frame.


Want to be Your Own Boss?

If you have always wanted to be your own boss, there has never been a better time to start your own business and make 2015 your most fulfilling year yet. Instead of talking about taking the next step, why not set yourself a timescale and think about some key decisions, spend time developing your idea and see if your business ambitions are truly viable.

Before you do anything else, you need to be really honest with yourself and ask: am I truly cut out to start my own venture? You need to be calm, clear-headed and rational. When thinking about starting a business, passion and enthusiasm are essential but you need to think with a business mind at every stage. You have to take a step back and try to be non-emotional when deciding if you’re ready to go it alone.

Try and look at it in the same way you would if you were advising someone else. The best advice I can give is to essentially interview yourself. Would you back yourself to lead a company?

Make sure you seek as much expert outside advice as possible: it’s no good asking the opinion of a friend or family member if they have no idea about your sector. Seek advice from others in your industry. Businesses that have mentors are far more likely to still be trading after five years than those that don’t.

James Caan

start your own business

18 Ways to Sink Your Startup

Successfully building a startup can feel like the sort of thing that requires planets aligning. Screwing up a startup, however, is incredibly simple.

Some entrepreneurs try to do it all on their own. Some don’t get along with their co-founders. Both of these mistakes can stop a company before it starts. Other things to avoid: hiring bad computer programmers, raising too little or too much money and, of course, a half-hearted effort.

These are just a few of the fatal mistakes that can befall startups, as illustrated in the infographic by Anna Vital, information designer at Funders and Founders. Take a look and see if you’re in danger of falling into these traps.

Carly Okyle