Business structure and needs analysis when starting a business
There are about twenty questions everyone should ask before starting a business. Most of those questions we cover in our Small Business Management Courses, while others we assume you’ve already thought about before taking the course.
Whenever I’ve started a new business, I’ve always made sure I did my research first, which usually involved asking lots of questions. But I was recently surprised to learn many new business owners don’t. This often leads to problems down the way; while some are easy to solve, others aren’t.
I have compiled a list of, what I think, are the most important questions you should ask before starting a business. Here goes:
- Business Structure: Sole Trader, Partnership or Company?
If you’re going into business with another person (or people), then you’ve already answered this question. But if you intend to go it alone, you should look into your options. Many people think their only option is to operate their business as a sole trader, but it’s not. You can still structure your business as a company, but you should look into both options to determine what’s best for you. Many first time business owners will opt for a business partnership because they need the help or support from a more experienced person or someone who can compliment them and provide a team environment. Make sure you check out our Business Partnership Course and Template so you’re aware of the risks.
- Who Are My Competitors?
What other businesses are doing what you’re planning to do? More importantly, though, how successful at it are they? Knowing your competitors means understanding their business as well as you understand yours. This takes meticulous research. Identifying competitors and researching the market is something we cover in our Small Business StartUp and Administration Course.
- What Are My Customers Doing?
You might want to open a café near a popular picnic spot where plenty of people congregate with their friends and families on hot summer days. But how many people visit that spot during the winter? Successful business owners know their customers’ behaviours and tailor their businesses to meet their customers’ needs. This is what makes the data collected by companies like Google and Facebook just so damn valuable.
Start with the end in mind
A lot of people think that starting a business is about taking a punt or a gamble and if you don’t have to borrow any money you may get away in believing this, but it’s a myth. Most successful business owners conduct thorough research, particularly now with the Internet, and continue to monitor the market for what customers are looking for. The best way to organise this research is through a business plan and that is one of the major outcomes for our Small Business Startup and Administration Course.
We continue asking questions in Part II of this series of posts on starting a new business. If you want to be sure to receive these blog posts and updates subscribe to our blog. If you like them share them with your friends on social media.