The 12 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself When Starting Up a New Business
Ask any business owner if they thought starting up their business came along with a daunting number of challenges. The decision to become a start-up in the first place is the first challenge accepted.
But what if you could ask yourself some simple questions that would alleviate a lot of the start-up challenges down the line? If you could start thinking about how you would handle some of these scenarios now, it would prepare you so you don’t need to fall at the first hurdle or fix your firm once it’s already in a muddle.
Even if you’re just getting out of the gate, just thinking these statements through will ensure you are mentally covering the bases for success and scalable growth.
These are the 12 questions that you should get your head wrapped around to make it easier to build a stronger and more sustainable firm in the first place.
They’re divided into the three core elements that belong to every SME: People, Revenue, and Strategy.
People and Culture
It goes without saying that people are everything in a business. Without them, you don’t have a firm to run. And the culture you foster is one the biggest things you can implement from day one to ensure you have a culture that people want to be a part of.
- Does everyone in my business understand why it exists and who it serves?
- Do they all know what our vision and aspirations are?
- Are they all clear on our values and more importantly, are they aligned with them?
- Does everyone have very clear responsibilities and accountabilities?
If you can’t honestly say that everyone in your start-up knows the answers to these questions, this is a great place to start in order to ensure that these things become second nature. Everyone should be able to understand this core element because it’s at the heart of the business. It’s the ‘Why’ you need to grasp in order to understand how everything else fits in.
If you’re clear on your purpose and values, you can make sure any hires align at every level and every step of the journey for an outstanding culture.
Today’s workforce is often choosing to join a business that is stronger in culture and work-life balance beliefs over straight salary remuneration. That’s food for thought.
Revenue is your bottom line. Just getting by isn’t going to allow you to grow, so again, the questions involved in this core element should be at the forefront of your mind when dealing with starting up your new venture.
- Does everyone in the business know if we’re a product or a service-based business?
- Does everyone know who our ideal client is?
If you think you can be all things to everyone, you’ll miss the mark. Niching down is a surefire way to gather clarity with your vision and aspirations. Zeroing in on the ideal client will make this easier along with increased revenue.
- Do profitable revenues flow easily and consistently into the business?
- Are you all good at keeping in touch with customers or clients even when they aren’t using your services?
If the answer is no to these last two questions, or you aren’t assessing your business on a regular basis to ensure that these things are always true all of the time, it may be time to look at why that isn’t happening.
Finally, most businesses don’t spend enough time on strategy. Possibly the single most important thing you can do as a start-up is plan time each month, week, or day however it works best for you to think about your future.
If you think growth just happens organically, then you may be in for a surprise. Sure, there are businesses that will grow exponentially just by being. But what happens when that growth outpaces your ability to continue to deliver your services equally as well as you did at the start? The cogs can fall off the wheel at this stage, and it is completely avoidable.
Planning for the future, how you will retain talent, talent acquisition, streams of revenue, and so on are all things you need to think about from the start. Don’t wait until your business growth outpaces you which is when sloppy decision-making comes into play. Poor decisions made hastily because you just needed the help and rapid resources will drastically affect your overall bottom line.
Ask yourself if you can say these things are always true for your firm:
- We have clear, written strategies for most aspects of the business.
- Everyone is aware of what these clear, written strategies are.
- We are actively implementing these strategies.
- We are using these strategies to plan our next phase of growth and make regular time out to plan for our future.
If they are not, why not?
Start-up challenges are just that. They will provoke you, challenge your thought processes, and they aren’t supposed to be easy.
But if you can straighten out the answers to these questions right at the start, you should end up with a less stressful journey to a successful, thriving business. A business that is genuinely scalable and is built on a strong foundation for a sustainable growth arc.
Taking the time to answer these 12 questions is invaluable even before you decide to start up your own business. So whatever stage of the process you are at, decide to take those challenges on with eyes wide open and a clear understanding of the makings of a successful entrepreneurial venture.
Rock-solid people and culture, revenue, and strategies will take you there.
Tricres CEO and Co-Founder Rebecca Bonnington lives for ‘making it happen’ for every SME whether it’s law firms, other professional services, and now all owner/managers with ambition in any sector. Tricres started out as a business consulting and coaching venture with her fellow Co-Founder and brother Nick Davies, and in the beginning, they worked with just professional services. A lightbulb moment happened when Rebecca realised she could reach more SME’s and the Fuel My Business app was born. It’s a radical new way to think of coaching using proven tools and courses but on your own terms and on your own time, whenever and however you need it. If you have ever felt that coaching was too expensive, time to think again. Take the power of having a 24/7 online coach in your pocket with Fuel My Business.
This article was originally written for Compass Magazine published by the Calico Legal Group.