Questions to Ask Yourself if You Want to Start a Business
With sites like eBay, Society6, Etsy, and more, the American dream is as alive and well as ever, spawning a new generation of relentlessly entrepreneurial men and women. Whether you want to open a restaurant or start selling your sketches online for a quick buck, there are a few questions you should ask yourself first:
1: What is your financial plan?
This might seem kind of a broad question, but that is because it is. Depending on the business you're going to be creating, you could need a nest egg of anything from 20 bucks to tens of thousands of dollars. Whatever that amount is, make sure that you have those funds set aside well ahead of time, plus extra, because the only guarantee when it comes to any new financial venture is that unexpected expenses are bound to pop up.
Make sure you've done a full analysis of what your income and expenses will be. From rent to supplies, shipping to phone bills, website services, salaries, and so much more - make sure you know everything, down to details like pencils and hand-soap. Ensure you’ll be making enough to cover those things.
While you’re at it, find out if a separate bank account is necessary. For a “real” business, (not a freelance gig) having a business account dedicated solely to your business, that you pay yourself and others from, is crucial. Look into banks, and find one that fits your needs specifically.
2: Can your business scale? If so, how will you manage that?
Now that you've sorted out the financial aspect the next question to delve into is simple: Can your business grow?
There are a few difference facets to this: First, will enough people be interested in your product/service for your customer base to grow? Is there a need or a want for your product? Will some people be willing to pay for it? Will more people be willing to pay for it? Second, should your product be successful, could you handle a gradual increase in sales? Moreover, how would you handle a sudden increase in demand? Will you be able to support employees, should you need the extra help? Especially if you're putting out hand crafted items, you might start off solo, but along the line you may not be able to handle the demand on your own. And finally, will you have space for those people? Will you have space for your inventory? That question leads us to our next main point:
3: Will you need a brick and mortar establishment?
Depending on what your business is, you might not need anything other than your camera or a laptop. But if your company requires any number of employees or a decent amount of storage space, you'll probably want to look into finding a physical location dedicated to your company. Whether that's a studio apartment turned into an office for a small team, or a street-facing store front, make sure to look into commercial and non-commercial real-estate in the area, and take your time to make sure you're getting the best bang for your buck.
4: How will you deal with the legal aspects of business ownership?
Even for a freelancer there is extra tax-work involved, so take time to research what is required of you on that front. Whether you file taxes yourself, use an online aid, or pay an accountant, make sure to cover all your bases when tax season rolls around. On top of that, things like HR, benefits, payroll, privacy, etc., are all things you want to take into account when starting a business. Many businesses will seek legal advice to ensure that they're checking all of their boxes, especially in the beginning when companies are particularly unstable.
Starting your own business can be an exciting and potentially life-changing endeavor. And with proper planning you can take your side hustle and make it into an empire. So ask the right questions, write up a plan, and show the world what you're made of!