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7 Questions to Ask When Starting a Business

7 Questions to Ask When Starting a Business

7 Questions to Ask When Starting a Business

The Covid pandemic has seen the start of millions of new businesses all over the globe. The world’s largest economies have seen a surge in start-ups, as many people sought to meet certain needs, and make money after being laid off. So, if you’re thinking of joining the movement, what are the questions to ask when starting a business?

Let’s start by exploring exactly how big the explosion is. In the USA, specifically, business formation applications rose by 82% in the three months leading up to September 2020, compared to the previous quarter. France has 84 000 new businesses registered by October – up 20% in the same month the previous year, and the highest number ever. Numbers have also risen in Japan, Germany, and the UK.

Starting a business online seems to be a current trend, too.

Before you take the leap, it’s vital that you ask yourself some questions. If you’re able to answer the questions clearly, then your venture is likely to be a success.

Rushing into business isn’t a good idea. Think about these questions, including why you’re going into business, what you want to sell, and who you want to sell to. Then, start putting together your business plan to make sure that everything is on paper and you have clarity around where you’re going.

#1. Why are you starting your own business?

This might seem like a question with an obvious answer, but many people go into business without really knowing why.

Wanting to be their own boss, wanting to make more money, and wanting to have more control is fine to start off with. But that isn’t really enough. You need to know a host of other things if you’re thinking of starting a business:

· How much control of your time and your lifestyle do you want?

· What passion do you want to follow?

· What kind of impact do you want to make in the world?

Those are just a few things to think about. Starting your business is a huge leap of faith and it will push you in ways you never imagined. It’s important to be prepared for that.

#2. What are you selling?

Again, this seems one of the obvious questions to ask when starting a business. But you need a crystal-clear picture of what you’re selling. Is it a product? Is it a service? Is it an offering?

Hopefully what you’re selling connects deeply with what you’re passionate about. A lot of businesses make the mistake of trying to do everything and trying to service everyone.

However, if you niche down, you gain much more clarity and it’s much easier to tell the world what it is that you do. Your potential customers will want to know what you’re about, and if you’re about too many things it will simply create confusion about you, your business and your brand.

You’ll also be able to create something of real quality that will stand out from the competition. Some businesses though can’t only offer one product. It doesn’t make sense for their business model. The point is that knowing what you’re selling is one way to get closer to success.

#3. Who is Your Ideal Client?

This brings us to our next question. Who is your ICA – your ideal client avatar. You’ll hear this mentioned a lot when starting your business, and for good reason. Having an ICA is vital for your business’s success. Many business coaches and programs will encourage you to write out your ICA as a story.

Here’s an example of an ICA that a branding expert might write:

Sarah is a 45-year-old mother of two. Her children are 15 and 13. She runs her own business and is doing really well, but now she’s looking to scale and reach more people. She is a productivity coach who creates programs for people, and guides them through organizing their work and personal lives. She is based in Washington, DC and works with leaders and C-Suite executives, helping them streamline their work and their personal life.

Her greatest goal is to help her clients reach an easy and graceful work-life balance. She wants to know that they’re able to be successful in their businesses, but also shut down their laptops at the end of the day and on the weekend so that they can be fully present with their families and their friends, and also just have fun.

Her main struggle is how to brand her business and really speak with her own authentic voice. This is holding her back in her design and her copywriting, and in her marketing generally. She needs someone who can help her find her authentic voice and really step into who she is and what her message is so that she can start speaking to the people who really need her services.

She is hesitant to pay someone to help her because she’s experienced problems with previous service providers. She wants the person she works with to really be on

her page and understand where she’s coming from. She wants them to feel like a friend she can talk to in a really comfortable way.

She spends her free time with her family on long walks or in parks, relaxing and connecting with the people she loves. She loves podcasts and audio novels and she’s always looking for new ways to learn from other entrepreneurs.

Some people have incredibly detailed ICAs. The reason you need to be really clear about who you’re serving is so that you can speak to them in a way that makes them feel heard.

Your content and copy are vital. People read your emails, and see your social media posts. When written properly, this collateral will speak to the individual. It will feel like you’re speaking directly to them. This is what builds the know, like and trust factor. And this is what will turn people into customers. You can only nail this content and copy when you know exactly who you’re speaking to.

#4. What is your USP?

This is your unique selling point. What makes you different? Why should people come to your business for what they need, and not to your competition?

You need to have an edge of some sort. It might be the product or service itself. It might be the kind of customer support you offer. It might be that you are the face of your business and you’re in the trenches, dealing with people all the time.

Put your USP in your business plan. Show it off. Investors are far more likely to give you money if they know how you plan to stand out and be seen, particularly if you’re starting a business with no money.

#5. What kind of business will you start? Will you be a sole proprietorship or a partnership? A limited liability company or a business corporation? Each has their own benefits.

The important thing is for you to decide on which one you’re going to be so that you can reap the benefits of it, and get the answers to any legal questions to ask when starting a business.

It will also determine what accounting questions to ask when starting a business.

#6. What are your business goals?

Obviously, every business owner wants to make money and be successful. But how are you going to achieve that? Think about the short-, medium- and long-term goals you need to set so that you’re supporting your bigger picture with a practical, step-by-step action plan.

Put these goals into your business plan. Work out strategies for how you’re going to achieve them.

In conclusion

Your new venture is an exciting one. It’s something to look forward to. Make sure you can answer these questions so that you’re able to really pinpoint what it is you want to do, and how you want to do it.

Knowing why you’re starting your business, what you’re selling, who you’re selling to, your USP and ICA, what kind of business you want to start, and what your goals are, are a sure way to start getting clarity on your start-up. Good luck!

If you’d like to find out more about the support we give to business in and around Washington DC, visit our website.

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