Aug 20, 2011

Things to consider before taking a decision about a business idea

Before embarking on any kind of business venture be it opening a hair salon or a roadside cafĂ©, there are certain personal questions you need to ask yourself: what do I want to do or be? Is this really what I want? Will my current life situation improve by starting this business?  Am I doing this only to make money? Or do I want to impact on society while I am still making money? What impact will starting this business have on my family and relationships? What existing skills and knowledge do I have that will help with the business?  Which skills do I need to develop?  These are some of the questions every businessperson has had to ask him or herself at one point or another.  When you’re asking these questions of yourself, you have to be as truthful as you possible can in your response.   Apart from the personal questions, there are also practical business questions you have to ask:

  •     Capital requirement: What kind of money would I need to get the business of the ground and what kind of human skills will be required for my kind of business.  The kind of money and human capital you would need will depend on the kind of business you are about to start.
  •     Business location: Where is the best place for me to locate my business? Where you situate your business must suit the kind of product or services you are offering.  It is no good if you are engage in small-scale cassava processing to situate your business in an urban area where you have to travel far to access your raw material.  Think about the kind of business you have and whether proximity to potential client or raw material is what is essential to your business survival.  Clarity about this will help you to locate your business appropriately.
  •     Market access: Does the market want my product or service?  Whatever business you start, there must be either a demand for the product or services or you create the demand for what it is you are trying to sell.  Also, remember to factor in visibility & accessibility to your target market.
  •     Sustainability: Is this business sustainable? How could I ensure sustainability during and beyond my own life time?  Always think and factor into your plan how the business will sustain itself.   Remember, it’s only a sustainable business that can easily reproduce itself.
  •     Skills: for any business one is venturing into, it is important to have some skills and knowledge of the business. Nothing destroys a business like ignorance, incompetence and the lack of a basic knowledge of the business. If you don’t have the skills, are you prepared for further training? Are you prepared to pay to bring in the required skills? Even if you already have the skills, ongoing training for you and your staff is essential for a continuously innovative business. 
  •     Part-time or full-time: Once you have thought through some of the above you, you then need to decide whether you want to start on a part-time or full-time basis.  If you decide to start part-time, would it be alongside a full time career or other activities that require your full attention, like parenting?  If you opt for this route, remember there maybe clashes or conflict of interest may arise between your new business and your full-time work.  If you decide to go full-time, how would you sustain yourself in the initial 6 to 12 months of starting the business?

These are some of the questions you need to ask and answer for yourself.  Nobody can answer them for you.  You alone know yourself.


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