Truth Be Told: 3 Reality-Check Questions to Ask When Starting a Business

Business meeting

In most instances, people start their business with high optimism. It’s good to have a positive outlook, despite the risks tied to such an endeavor, but there’s also a risk of having too much of a good thing. Being too optimistic may cloud your judgment or keep you from acknowledging the red flags.

Leave the rose-colored glasses and run a reality check when starting your business. Ask yourself these questions before diving deep into it:

“Am I ready for the business lifestyle?”

Transitioning from an employee to an entrepreneur is a huge leap of change. Most people precisely want that change, given the promise of being their own boss and not being tied to a 9 to 5 job.

Well, here’s the reality: While you won’t have a boss (technically), you will have hundreds or thousands of bosses — in the person of your customers. These bosses may be harder to please than your department manager. Yes, you may have ditched the 9 to 5 job, but you’re always on call because you always have to be on top of daily operations at your store.

If you’re thinking that the business lifestyle is earning more money, know that in the first phases of your business, there will be little returns. In fact, you may have no returns yet in the first six months to a year in business. This is the lifestyle change you’ll be facing, and you have to be prepared for the financial sacrifices you’ll make, family events you might miss, and rejections you’ll receive from your first customers.

“Are there really pain points?”

Meeting

Many aspiring entrepreneurs have the best business ideas born from long showers, not from real problems of people. Simply because an idea appeals to you doesn’t automatically mean that it would appeal to the greater majority, or that they would be willing to pay for it. People may love your idea, but they would only pull out their wallets when a product satisfies them physically or emotionally.

When thinking of a business idea or pursuing an opportunity, keep the market’s pain points in mind. From there, verify through small-scale testing if your business appeals to your intended audience. Better yet, go for tried-and-tested ideas like fast food or pizza franchise opportunities. With such an endeavor, you can be sure that there really is an existing need being met and a market willing to pay for it. When talking to a potential franchisor, ask for their market research reports.

“Can I lead and motivate a team?”

Being the owner of a business is more than simply telling people what to do. Unfortunately, it’s not a set-it-and-forget-it kind of thing. Running a business is about building rapport with employees, increasing morale, imparting vision, and steering the entire organization in the right direction.

As early as now, develop leadership skills. Embrace discipline. Practice active listening. Learn how to resolve conflicts. Engage in both small talk and meaningful discussions with different people. While you’re at your current job, take on leadership roles as much as possible.

All these questions are not meant to discourage you from starting a business. It’s just a tool to check and re-orient your perspectives and motives. If you’ve considered all these and decided you’re ready, then proceed. Go start your business today.