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Five Questions to Ask When You’re Thinking of Starting a Business

With hundreds of thousands being laid off during this current recession many are starting their own business. Individuals are often attracted by the thought of more flexible working hours and financial independence.

But when they embark upon their new business venture, especially after sometimes spending many thousands of dollars, they are hugely disappointed with the return on their investment. Also people often have an unrealistic view of what running a business entails.

While setting up and running your own business can certainly be a great idea, even in this economic downturn, one has to tread carefully. People often choose a business that they have feel they have an affinity to and this can certainly have its advantages.

For example, some choose to go into the restaurant business because they enjoy good food and eating at great restaurants. However, being a guest at a restaurant and being a restaurant owner are very different.

Another mistake that people make is that they choose a business where essentially they’re exchanging their time for money without any hope of ever being able to automate their business or at least elements of it. Hence, the time freedom which many dream of is not achievable. While starting any business will require a considerable investment of time to get the business off the ground, you should have a strategy whereby you can step away from the business and still have income coming in.

So here are five questions to consider when you’re thinking of starting a business.

1. Is the business a good fit for you?

Do your due diligence and thoroughly research any business opportunity. Make sure that it is a good fit for you. Talk to other business owners working in the same industry to get a realistic idea of just what is involved in running the type of business you’re considering.

2. How will it change your lifestyle?

Running a business will undoubtedly have an impact on not only your lifestyle but also that of your family and initially that impact may not be entirely positive. Ensure that you have the support and understanding of family members before you start out. This will help to ease the way forward later.

However, as your business becomes more established you’ll expect your lifestyle to improve. So put in place clear indicators to let you know whether or not you’re on target and adjust your strategy accordingly if not.

3. How much money will you have to invest?

Whatever your monetary investment you need to know how long it will take you to breakeven and how long it will take you to start making a profit. You especially need to know these figures if your initial investment is a large one. It’s one thing to start a business with a couple of hundred dollars and quite another when you’re investing many thousands of dollars.

4. Do the figures, etc. presented really add up?

Research any figures that are presented to you and, where possible, verify case studies that are presented to you. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to produce fake case studies, testimonials and even sales figures. Also remember that when case studies are presented it is usually the best case studies that are highlighted.

While the fact that one person achieves great success with a particular business model is proof that, given the same opportunity, someone else can achieve a comparable level of success the fact remains that many people don’t. You certainly want to have high expectations of any business you embark upon but you also want to have realistic expectations so do your due diligence.

5. What additional training will you have to do?

If you’re going into business for yourself you’ll need to undertake training. In some cases the training will be a pre-requisite of the business you’re going into. For instance, if you decide to buy a franchise then you’ll have to undergo the training that company offers. However, there are so many new developments in the world of business that you have to keep your skills up-to-date.

So conduct a skills audit to determine what training you need and then seek out the necessary training. There’s lots of training available and it can also be easy to get distracted so remember that it’s important not only to learn new skills but to put them into action as well.

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