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Four Key questions to Ask Before Starting a Small Business

posted 30 Nov 2010, 06:51 by Mpelembe   [ updated 30 Nov 2010, 06:56 ]

If you want to start a small business, you are not alone, the
majority of working adults have thought about starting their
own business but most do not follow through because they
don't know how.  This article addresses four key questions
you should ask yourself before deciding to start a small

First, what is your reason for starting a small business?
Businesses take money to succeed and grow.  One cannot
realistically expect to put out a sign and expect everyone
to come flocking to your product or services.  If that is
what you want, then you should be considering buying an
already established business or buying a well established
franchise, but even still, if you are motivated by the
belief that "if you build it, they will come" then you are
missing one of the key attributes of a successful small
business owner, namely the attitude that you will get
nothing out of your business unless you put something in
first, and what you need to put in is time and/or money.

It is my belief that most small businesses fail because the
owners want to rely on their profits for an income which is
frankly unrealistic for most businesses that are just
starting out.  You need money to hedge slower times and put
your business in front of people.  So if your reason for
starting a business is that you can't work another month
with your current employer without going crazy, then it is
probably best to find a different job and then start
planning for a small business.

Second, can you consistently dedicate time to your business?
 The amount of time that you can dedicate does not
necessarily matter as much as if you can be consistent with
your work.  I personally decided a long time ago that
internet businesses were best for me because I was never
sure when I would be able to do work on my small business
(my main profession is as a scientist), but I discovered
that even though I build businesses that don't require my
time constantly, consistency is the primary key to
successful business growth.  The trade off is that because I
don't have as much time to do everything myself, I hire other
people to consistently do the small tasks that I can't
consistently do.   Honestly ask yourself how much time can
you dedicate to business knowing that what you can do
realistically is half to one fourth of what you think you
can do, and if you can't dedicate much time it is ok if you
can answer question three.

Third, how much money can you dedicate to your business?  If
you can't dedicate any money to your business, your business
will most likely never fly.  While more time can compensate
for less money, there are basic expenses related to running
a business on your own that everyone must pay.  Just
registering your business with the government each year
costs money.  The exception is if you already have the tools
necessary to succeed or have a mentor that can help provide
the tools and cover the basic costs of doing business.
Fortunately, if you do have discretionary income each month,
then time can be less of a factor because the truth is money
can actually buy you time, but find a mentor in your field
who can help you navigate the good investments from the vast
collection of bad investments.

Fourth, do you have someone that you can rely upon for
advice and help?  Working with someone who has started a
business before and knows what to do, you can overcome the
lack of time and money.  If you have a person like this,
count your lucky stars, and if you don't try your hardest to
find someone because having support is one of primary factors
for success in a small business.

Starting a business is very rewarding, but you need to be
focused on the future returns.  Consistently dedicate time,
let your earnings compound and find someone you can rely
upon to help you plan and support your decisions.  A small
business is not a path you want to walk totally alone.

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