11 questions to ask yourself and consider very deeply before you go headlong into the first business idea you fall in love with, and I suggest a pen and paper might be handy for this one to jot down some ideas around the 11 points.
And take your time, your mind needs a bit of space and freedom to percolate and come up with some really good answers
Do you have a burning desire to help people because the essence of any business is to be of service to others and solve problems?
Or is your first thought “it’s for money?” in that case you might be barking up the wrong tree, in fact I know you are!
It is worth really giving some deep thought to your why because, your answer will fuel your journey and keep you inspired when you meet the inevitable roadblocks and difficulties along the way.
This is such a complex question, I wrote a little more here about it, essentially because you are changing your career and it is a big move.
Should you be starting a business at all?
Are you sure you are not just bored with your job and need a new one?
Do you feel you are not making progress and are worth more than you currently earn?
Perhaps you might be better just altering your hours so you can work part time and have more time to pursue other hobbies or past times.
Maybe and simply a change of industry may be what you are really looking for deep down, and if you are truly looking to start your own business then a spell in your sector of choice could be the incentive you need and you can see if your calling is a true one without much of the risk.
And it is worth remembering you know, starting a business doesn’t necessarily scratch the itch either if you don’t like your boss or your terms and conditions.
You just might need a new environment to work in, maybe move from public to private sector or vice versa for a change or have a change of those terms and conditions, your location or style of working
When you are feeling deeply unhappy in your current work think carefully about what is making you feel the way you do, and I emphasise the word feel, don’t just try to logic it out.
You can’t hide your true feelings forever, no matter how hard you try and if you are suffering from any form of mild depression, headaches or unexplained stress, aches or pains you can be almost sure your true feelings are potentially, desperately trying to get your attention
That's assuming of course you have been to see your doctor to make sure nothing else is going on! That is a given.. right?
Starting a business is no mean feat so you really want to try and get it right first time if you can.
This is an important question, and it is where you can truly get creative in your thinking.
If you are having trouble thinking what kind of business you want to start, think about what you don’t want instead as this can really help you see what you do want.
If you don’t want to have to go to an office, perhaps you want to work from home or would you prefer a shared workspace with others to bounce ideas off.
Perhaps you would rather turn your working day upside down and speak to clients in their down time such as evenings and weekends so you can leave behind the traditional 9 to 5 working day on a Monday to Friday.
Do you want a product or service business or maybe start up a shop or work with clients via zoom or in the countryside.
You don’t want to find you start a product business for example, when really you wanted a business that was more information based. It could be around the same topic but you realise you need to operate it in a different way.
The easiest and quickest route to starting a business is by looking at what you already have as transferable skills and abilities.
What can you use that is already there?
I am sure you get the picture.
It is worth noting though, you don’t have to start a business around what you do for a living now.
Especially if you hate it, but you might want to take the elements you like from it and apply them to your new business, which leads me nicely to the next question.
Perhaps you are trying to get right away from what you do now but is it absolutely the right thing to do?
Can you use elements of it instead?
You may be working in retail and hate it, but you might just want to bring your people skills with you and use them in a different way?
Personal style consultant or sell widgets on line?
Are you in nursing?
Can you bring your health education into your business without having to "do nursing".
I am sure you get the picture.
If you need to go down the route of shortening your working week, can you rent out something to raise income or have you got a book sitting on our computer that you could finish and publish in the next 3 months and create some starter income?
You could be starting a business quicker if you can recognise some assets, you may not have thought of as income streams to kick-start where you thought you had nothing.
It might be your“assets” are a load of clothes just sitting there in the back of the wardrobe. You could sell them on eBay or one of the new apps like Vinted to give you seed money to start your business slowly as an example, or that collection of something sitting in your attic could be put to better use by selling it to someone who has the space and loves what you have on offer.
Or is your driveway sitting empty and idle all day in a commuter town, could you rent it Monday to Friday to someone who would be grateful for the space.
Emotions aside because I do understand why we hang on to things I urge you to sit back and look objectively to analyse what you might have in your life your could sell or rent, to help you get going with your plan.
This is not the time to think in terms of your CV and what you have done in the past, you are not trying to get yourself another job role, you are starting a business and moving into self employment, so you have to think differently.
In fact ditch your cv for now, don't even look at it!
This is the bit you can be as free thinking as you like, as crazy as you dare and really be honest with yourself, there is only you listening to yourself right now.
So, what is it to be?
Carry on using your organisational skills, bin them completely or enhance with your creative or practical skills?
Would you like to travel more, travel less, work outdoors, work with children, older people, by yourself, move into healthcare, start a creative business or that etsy business you have always dreamed about?
Really sit down and give some thought to this question and give some time to it.
The clues to what you really want to do are staring you in the face
And I can say that with confidence because if you think hard and ask yourself...
"What do I do with my off time or what do I spend my money on outside of my usual monthly commitments or what kind of books do I read, what events do I travel to, what hobbies do I have, what do I do for relaxation?"
The answers are right there…under your nose…waiting for you to notice
If you start to look at where you pay attention in your life outside of your work and family duties and stuff you must do, you will find a theme going on.
We give attention freely and there is no resistance to stuff we want to do as opposed to what we must do.
Really sit down and think about that because there are so many clues there.
This might sound like an odd question, but it is really quite an important one, particularly if you are thinking of going into business with someone else.
Your values run through absolutely everything that you are
What kinds of things are important to you, in your life, not just when contemplating self employment?
For example, do you value doing good for people, or think manners and customer service are very important.
Is timekeeping essential or are you a bit airy fairy about appointments and don't mind if others are too?
Is honesty important or are you ok with relaxing the truth a little as long as you get your sale?
These sorts of things are your values and you must not ignore them.
Working in opposition to what you hold dear, even it it is with your best friend, you will find your business life becomes difficult no matter how hard you try, and you will end up angry and resentful with any customers, partners or your suppliers.
Think deeply about this next question
Obvious to some and completely underestimated by others but chances are you will need to start from zero; no customers, no profit, no anything… can you afford that mentally and physically as well as financially?
Can you dedicate the time and have you communicated to your nearest and dearest about what to expect along the way.
Arguments are often due to the lack of a good conversation in the first place so I suggest you start off mentally on the right footing…by sharing what you are aiming to achieve everyone in your life if that is feasible and ask for their support, although I hesitate to suggest it to anyone who is faced with naysayers and sabotagers, however well-meaning they many think they are.
On this occasion keep your ideas to yourself perhaps you don’t want to be derailed off the track before you even leave the station.
The reality is you might have to drop your income to significantly less until you get going.
How about keeping your job and start part time evenings and weekends?
Money isn’t everything but you have to be realistic about your bills.
You can absolutely learn to live on significantly less but you have to be prepared for a bit of sacrifice.
If you still need to keep a shoe habit going or have your takeaways 4 nights a week you may want to re-evaluate your commitment to starting a business in the first place. If you are not prepared to make changes to support your business, then I might suggest you are just playing at it?
Final question and not often asked but I think it is important enough to include, and it is this,
If you don’t start your business and you don’t follow your dreams?
When you look back on your life in years to come will you regret not making the leap?
Will you feel as though you failed?
Will you feel angry because you never fulfilled your potential?
Will you look back at others and be resentful because they achieved what you wanted but were too frightened to do it yourself?
Will you kick yourself for letting opportunity slip through your fingers? When it has never been an easier time to start a small business on a shoestring around just about anything either physical or digital.
It is important to have an answer to this question because when times get tough in the future, you can return to your answers and remind yourself why you are doing what you are doing…or else you just might return to that shoe habit and takeaways.