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Before You Say I Do: Questions You Must Answer Before Starting a Business

Starting a business

Do you (kindly insert your name) take this business to be your lovely bride/groom, to love and to cherish, in sickness and in health, for better or for worse, till you get a buy-out or do an IPO? Starting a business is not something you do in a hurry.

Many don’t consider that the day you commit to starting a business, the commitment level is similar to marrying a husband or a wife. This spouse called business is probably closer to you than your real spouse, though many will not readily agree to this. Thoughts about your business occupy almost all your waking moments. Every extra cash is poured into the business; all your networks are called into action for the sake of the business.

When marrying someone, there is a dating period where you assess your compatibility and appropriateness with the person you want to marry. Unfortunately, when starting a business, you really can’t date it before going into it. Yes you can do a feasibility study of the business, but that only shows the opportunity potential of the business.

Start Your Business in 30 Days Even If You Don't Have An Idea
Start Your Business in 30 Days Even If You Don’t Have An Idea

The following questions help you check for other things in addition to the opportunity potential of the business:

  • Why do I want to start this business?
  • Am I tired of my regular job?
  • Am I jobless and think starting a business is the way out?
  • Is there a market opportunity I see?
  • Do I want to make more money?
  • Am I naturally wired to be an entrepreneur?

Just so we are clear, there is no right or wrong answer to these questions, but it helps for you to be honest with your response to them. The most important question you need to answer is why you want to start up the business. Your answer will tell you if there are alternative actions rather than the business.

For instance, if the  primary reason why you want to start up a business is because your are tired of your regular job, alternatives to think of and even explore are changing jobs, switching careers or maybe even taking up new roles and responsibilities in the same job or working with a new manager. You may just be bored out of your routine tasks and all you need is a breath of fresh air.

A business is a life time commitment similar to a spouse and you should not dive into it without a proper assessment or precaution; else your divorce rate will be high. We have looked at the institution itself and its intention for wanting to go into it.

Now let us assess the person going into this lifetime institution with the following questions.

  • What kind of person am I?
  • What is my risk appetite level?
  • Am I a firm person?
  • Can I sack people?
  • How comfortable am I with debt?
  • Can I manage uncertainty?
  • Can I handle failure?
  • Can I handle failure after a previous failure?

Beyond the business opportunity, environmental and economic factors, beyond government policies, programs and economic interventions, who you are as a person is the most important factor in business.

Can you take risks? If you are risk averse, if you like to play it safe, if you find dealing with uncertainty cumbersome, or you think sacking people is heartless or you squirm at the thought of owing money, if you can’t stand to lose all your hard-earned money, then you really should consider alternatives to running a business.

I am not deliberately painting a gloomy picture. This picture is the reality for entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship requires mental toughness. One day doesn’t look like the other. Things will break, plans will not go in order, you may have a tsunami or an operational earthquake once in a while, your staff will act on their volition, etc.

Questions for your spouse, the venture

  • Is this the right business?
  • Does this business align with my values?
  • Does it align with my personality?
  • Am I passionate about this business?
  • If I had a million dollars, will I still do this business?
  • Is the industry in a growth, matured or declining state?
  • Do I have the capital to start up the business?
  • Do I have the relevant experience?
  • Am I a novice? If I am, what can I do about it?
  • What is the competitive landscape like?
  • What’s unique about my approach?
  • What factors are majorly responsible for success?

Not every business opportunity is yours for the taking and these questions help you sieve through to help you find the one that literarily has your name written all over it. Every person has their ‘spec’ of what a spouse should look like – rich, caring, rich again, God-fearing, etc.

Business is way easier when you are naturally wired for it. You will feel like a fish in water or a monkey hopping between trees. Disaster happens when you place a fish on a tree and the monkey in water. That is what happens when you have a good business you are not wired to run. The questions above are a guide and not exhaustive. The idea is to bring to your attention what you are about getting yourself into.

Despite these questions and your responses, there is something else that goes beyond natural reasoning of facts and figures. That something is intuition; guts or feelings. You need to listen to these things as there are times when the answers to them may not be as positive as you want them to be. But when your guts give you a green light, take the plunge. This works on a flip side too. When the answers are all positive but your gut feeling flags a red, give it some time and revisit at a later date.

Business, like marriage has its good days and not so good days. There are some days you feel right on top of the world and days you feel at the bottom of the ocean. The journey is the thrill more than the destination and in the more than a decade that I have been an entrepreneur, if I could go back and choose again, I will still say, “Yes, I do.”

Entrepreneurship is a lonely journey, let us help you get through it with our services.

Go from idea to starting your business in 30 days
Go from idea to starting your business in 30 days



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