This section is designed for those who plan to start their own business in the
future. The goal here is to give you a number of questions to answer which will help you and your business.
These are the same questions asked by leading management consultants charging huge fees. They focus on those areas that are most likely to cause business failure or success, depending on how you answer them. You may already understand these issues from the previous sections but do not skip any questions as the one that you skip could be the one that causes you business to fail.
These questions are short, clear and easy to answer. They cover key personal elements that most plan books ignore. Yet your success has a great deal to do with you as a person: your skills, habits, background and personality. These questions also trigger new questions, thoughts, ideas and channels of inquiry. This is not exhaustive – no list can cover every possibility. However, this one does cover all the main points.
Answer all these questions honestly as possible to understand your potential for success.
Do You Have the Success Formula
Specialists in start ups find that those who succeed usually have the following key characteristics or traits:
- Knowledge through formal training and on the job experience.
- Attitude and willingness to work hard for long hours for many months and maybe for some years, living on a low income. Start ups take years to become profitable, 80% never become profitable.
- Plans are a vital part of success. A business without a plan
- Capital. Many businesses need significant amount of funds to succeed. Not having adequate cash frequently result in failure due to incorrect estimates and unforeseen circumstances.
- Action – proper implementation of the business plan. Many businesses fail due to contradictory decisions not compatible with business plans.
The book “7 habits of highly effective people” will change your life as it has many others. Improve your personal and professional effectiveness.
Business Start-up Questions
Do you know yourself?
|1. Do you like to guide and direct?|
|2. Can you make good choices?|
|3. Can you compete well?|
|4. Will people follow your directions?|
|5. Do you have good self-control?|
|6. Do people call you determined?|
|7. Do you schedule and manage time well?|
|8. Do you arrange actions toward goals?|
|9. Do you enjoy working with others?|
|10. Do other enjoy working with you?|
|11. Have you worked 60 hour weeks recently?|
|12. Can you handle emotional stress?|
|13. Will your family give full support?|
|14. Can your nerves handle a failed venture?|
Does your training and background fit?
|1. Have you a list of abilities needed?|
|2. Do you have all or more of these?|
|3. Have you been a director/general manager?|
|4. If so, were you successful?|
|5. Do you have work experience in this field?|
|6. Do you have formal training in this field?|
|7. Will you get training before you start?|
Do your prospects want your product / service?
|1. Do you know who your prospects are?|
|2. Do you know where and how many?|
|3. Do you know total Dollar market spending?|
|4. Have you discussed product idea with prospects?|
|5. Do they say they need it?|
|6. Do they say they want it?|
|7. Did they suggest improvements?|
|8. If so, did you make these changes?|
|9. Do you have realistic sales estimates?|
|10. Is this a good time to enter the market?|
|11. Will you compete well on product price?|
|12. Do you have a marketing plan prepared?|
|13. Is your plan better than those alternate products?|
Have you avoided legal problems?
|1. Is your business name safe / legal?|
|2. Are you a sole proprietorship?|
|3. If so, do you know that you can be personally sued?|
|4. Are you a partnership?|
|5. Do you know that all partners can be sued equally?|
|6. Is your business a corporation?|
|7. Do you know a corporation protects you personally?|
|8. Do you know the cost of being incorporated?|
|9. Can you afford this?|
|10. Do you need a license to do business?|
|11. Are you aware of key statutes?|
|12. Are there laws about signs? Snow removal?|
|13. Will you be in compliance with laws on:|
|Taxes – city, state, federal|
|Withholding tax requirements?|
|Social security withholding?|
|14. Do you have contact with an employer?|
|15. Has a lawyer reviewed your plans?|
|16. Do you have good insurance for life, health, fire, theft and liability?|
Do you have a good location?
|1. Do you have easy access for customers?|
|2. Do facilities need remodeling?|
|3. Do you need furniture and fixtures?|
|4. Can you afford remodeling / fixtures?|
|5. Are you renting not buying?|
|6. Can rent apply to purchase if need be?|
|7. Is parking adequate, clean, lighted?|
Do you have good suppliers?
|1. Do you have a product line? services?|
|2. Do you what inventory you need?|
|3. Do you have suppliers for all your needs?|
|4. Did you check their customers opinions?|
|5. Did you check their competitors?|
Do you plan for proper documents?
|1. Will you account for costs / sales?|
|2. Bills to pay? Vouchers due to you?|
|3. Profits and losses by month?|
|4. Pay due employees? Withholding?|
|5. Do you have an accountant?|
What about your personal income?
|1. Do you have cash in the bank?|
|2. Do you have any other income?|
|3. Does spouse have income?|
|4. Do you know your total living needs?|
|5. Do you have enough income to meet these?|
|6. Do you know when the business will profit?|
|7. Can you meet personal needs till then?|
|8. Do you have an emergency money plan?|
|9. Can you handle failure financially?|
|10. Have you ever been bankrupt?|
|11. Have you discussed your venture with your banker?|
If you answer all or most of these questions with a ‘Yes’ then the chances of your business succeeding considerably improve. But, you could still fail through circumstances beyond your control. Some examples are severe new competition, major cost increases, drops in demand, new adverse laws, union action, health problems and other difficulties. Those are the risks that have to be taken.