5 Questions You Should Ask Yourself before you even think of starting a New Business
That’s not a typo error… I’m making you ask yourself 5 questions before you even think of starting a new business.
The past few weeks I have spent crazy hours talking to people in my network asking them why they do what they do, and why me or anyone should use their services? The purpose of this exercise was not to make them feel uncomfortable, but to really find the purpose of their business, so I can get to know them, and their business better, and be able to refer work to them through my wider network.
In doing so, I realised some key truths about the psychology of business, and how it’s different from being in a job. It’s about the mindset of upgrading from an employee to an employer; from being in a job to creating jobs; from taking it easy to being restless; and most importantly, from being sane to definitely insane.
Most of the people I know have had some experience doing odd jobs to make ends meet, before they found the purpose; or slogging it out in the library and hitting the books hard, to pass key exams so they can qualify with degrees and certification in their area of expertise.
When one works for someone else, no matter how high the motivation in terms of title / role / salary / package, the mindset is expected to be that of an employee – do the best to your ability, but only as you’re told, and to the limits of your role / job description. Very few employers will give their employees to find their own space within an organisation by trying new and different things. It’s possible in a small – medium enterprise but nearly non-existent in a corporate or large organisation.
Compare this to being in a business, family or startup, and the pressure is on to make decisions from the start. The hardest one being where do I spend my hard earned money so I can grow without going broke, and keep winning business to sustain the avalanche of bills coming in the following weeks. With the advent of social media and internet, this is a bitter-sweet pill, as its very profitable if done right, and very expensive if done wrong; and for most of us, we only know after giving it a shot.
The Why? defines the purpose of doing something. It sets the groundwork for mission, vision and culture. The Who? defines the people you will need to mobilise to see the success. The What? is the tasks and goals that keep you focus on reaching your results. The When? puts a measurable time line so you can check your progress. And the Why Not? helps you questions yourself once you’re set on the path, and make changes as you go along.
Here’s a list of 5 Questions I ask myself regularly. Some of these answers or reasons took me years to find, so yeah…take your time.
Why is this important (to me; to my family; to my customers; to my stakeholders; to my network)?
always answer the ‘what’s in it for me?’ question from everyone’s standpoint.
What am I willing to give up to see this through?
are you prepared for the sacrifices that lie ahead…including the stress it will place on your mental, physical, financial heath and time.
Who will see benefit in this product / service / concept and is it sustainable and scale-able?
core benefits need to be clearly defined and add value – no point thinking its great when its just another piece of shit wrapped in shiny foil.
When is the best time to begin this and by when will I be able to take it to market / investors?
timing is key and it’s important to plan ahead in phases so u know when to scale up and be ready for budgeting and investing.
Why not try to change the way we do THIS by seeking counsel / advice from leading experts?
asking a few close advisers (family, friend, mentor, client, supplier) is always good to check the business model – maybe there’s an easier, smarter, cheaper and quicker way to get you the results you want.
When I was young, my answer to the why? was I want to get super rich so I can buy the latest Ferrari. That dream is still alive, but the Farrukh in 2016 will slap the Farrukh in 2000 for that answer. Why? Financial success is a given but to get rich, it’s years of planning and doing before seeing any cash in your pocket returns. Get rich shouldn’t be in the 5 reasons of the why at all. It will happen eventually, if you’re smart and have an idea / niche worth exploring.
Hope you found this insightful, and I am currently in the process of launching Tynderbox: Igniting Your Innovation which is a one-stop consulting incubator for startups, students and SMEs . Want to help or need help with anyone, let’s chat.