Essential questions before starting a business.


When you consider some of the most popular reasons to start a business, including having a unique business idea, designing a career that has the flexibility to grow with you, working toward financial independence, and investing in yourself — it’s no wonder that small businesses are everywhere.

Below are essential questions.

What kind of business do you want to start? Are you selling a product or a service?

If you’re selling a product: You’ll need more money up front, for raw materials to create your product; your production equipment and space; and people to do the work, unless you’re doing it all yourself. Remember you’ll also need to spend time actually selling your product and marketing it.
If you’re selling a service: Congratulations. Your business should be cheaper and easier to launch.

How quickly do you need to get your product or service to market?

If speed is everything: Get that pitch deck ready if…

  • you’re worried about competitors getting to market first;
  • your business idea solves an immediate problem; or
  • you’re building an expensive product. Think manufacturing, biotech, finance, or other high-tech, large-scale businesses (e.g., Uber, Lyft, WeWork, Airbnb).

How long can you afford to live without a salary?

If you need a salary immediately – Expect to keep your day job.

How many people do you need to run your startup?

If you’re running a service-based business: Nice. It’s easier to launch on your own.

If you’re running a product-based business: You can beg friends and family to help… but eventually you’ll need to pay for some sort of staff, whether it’s full-time employees, part-time workers, or freelance consultants.