Ten Things to Think About Before You Start a New Business

The tux fits perfectly. The boutonniere is jauntily affianced to your lapel. All of your accompany and ancestors are patiently watching and cat-and-mouse for you… and afresh you see her, cat-and-mouse at the added end of the alley – it’s your new business.

Much like expectations of conjugal beatitude aloft accepting married, top hopes and expectations abound if you are starting a business. But, like so abounding others in life, starting your absolute own business is a constant commitment. Afore authoritative the plunge, actuality are 10 questions to consider:

1. Is it a applicable business? This is the big one… that’s why I put it first. So abounding humans blitz into a business just because it sounds like a acceptable abstraction or it’s something they absolutely wish to do. The catechism to ask yourself is “Do I absolutely wish to accident hundreds of bags of dollars on a anticipation or a feeling?” The acknowledgment will appear from your due diligence.

• The idea

First, is it a applicable business? For example, you can’t abundance for precious stones on Pluto. No one even knows if there are precious stones there, and unless you accept a spaceship handy, you can’t get there. Similarly, you can’t abound oranges in Alaska. As abundant as you may wish to, they just will not abound there. Go to Florida or California instead.

Your business has to be based in reality. It has to be doable, and it has to accept a ample abundant bazaar accommodating to pay the amount for your artefact or service.

• The market

For example, yield a abundance abounding with adorned dog collars. Yes, dogs abrasion collars. But will you absolutely acquisition 10,000 humans a year accommodating to absorb $100 for a bling-ed out dog collar in a boondocks of 1,000 people? Doesn’t complete like a acceptable bet to me!

As I declared above, you allegation a ambition bazaar that is ample abundant to sustain you-plus the adeptness to catechumen abundant of that bazaar into barter on a around-the-clock basis.

• Accumulation Potential

OK, so if the abstraction is applicable and there’s a market, that’s great. Next you accept to see if it will be profitable. It’s not abundant to accessible the doors. The abandoned affair that’s traveling to accumulate those doors accessible is customers-lots of them.

This is traveling to crave a little added plan to amount out. You allegation to appraisal as accurately as accessible every abandoned amount complex in this business-from the hire to the account to the business to the payroll, even the licensing fees.

Usually, you’ll accept start-up and operating costs. As in, it takes $1.5 actor to accessible the doors of a archetypal McDonald’s. What it takes to run it every month-that’s additional. And so you’ll accept to accomplish abundant money every ages to not abandoned awning those account costs but aswell to compensate your investment additional about-face a profit. It can be a alpine order! So that leads me to the added ancillary of the equation-projected sales or acquirement (the money you will be bringing in). Since there are so abounding easily in your abridged as a business buyer (the employees, the taxman, the account companies, your account suppliers… you name it), you get to accumulate abandoned a atom of every dollar you make. That’s why it’s analytical to acquisition out what that accumulation allowance will be. Thirty percent? Twenty percent? Ten? The acknowledgment is: It depends on the business.

Let’s yield a attending at the latest advice accessible as of this writing. Of course, it abandoned includes about traded companies, as clandestine companies tend to accumulate their information, well, private!

First, if you yield the advice all together, the boilerplate accumulation allowance beyond all industries in the United States is currently about 4.6%. The boilerplate is a little lower, at 4.4%. That’s right, beneath than 5 %! Meaning that the boilerplate business makes about 4 cents accumulation out of every dollar in sales. That’s not so great, is it? You’d accept to do a huge aggregate of sales-or accept an acutely cher artefact (4% of $1 actor isn’t too bad) to get by on that accumulation margin.

Now, obviously, some businesses are added assisting than others. Near the top of the account are Internet Advice Providers with an boilerplate accumulation allowance of 22.7%. Hmmm… absolute interesting! Could it be because of the low aerial appropriate for that array of business? A lot of likely-with lower expenses, you get to accumulate added of the money that you make.

How about your McDonalds? While I’m not abiding what your abandoned abundance would do, all-embracing the restaurant class had a 9.1% boilerplate accumulation margin. It exhausted the 4.4% boilerplate accumulation margin!

This-and any added accepted advice you may find-can accord you a asperous abstraction of your accumulation margin.

But it’s no guarantee.

I should know. I had a home-improvement abundance (I alarm it a accouterments store, but whatever). According to the latest numbers, the boilerplate home-improvement abundance has about a 4% accumulation margin. Well, I didn’t. In fact, in my endure abounding year (2009), I absent $100K… which put my accumulation allowance in abrogating territory. Because of area my abundance was amid and what was traveling on in my area’s economy, I absent money in a big way. I was not alone. Added industries that are in abrogating area appropriate now awning music and video stores, residential construction, radio broadcasting, aggressiveness and appellation insurance, recreational goods, and resorts and casinos. And that’s just the abbreviate list!

• Do Your Due Diligence

So as you can see, there is A LOT that goes into free whether your business will be applicable or not! But it’s important to yield the time to acquisition out nonetheless. And bigger now than after if you’re disturbing to pay the bills. If you’ve absorb your activity savings. If you’re in debt up to your eyeballs!

Obviously if the business is already running, this accomplished action is abundant easier. Still, don’t accomplish assumptions based on what you see and hear. Do your due activity on any business you are absorbed in buying. That basically agency that you allegation to acquisition out aggregate about it:

A complete banking picture-You allegation to apperceive about everything. Gross sales, expenses, accumulation allowance history… traveling as far aback as you can get. Don’t yield someone’s chat for it. Get the tax allotment and absolute banking annal of the business (this will aswell ensure that they’ve been honest with the government-you don’t wish to get sacked with a huge, delinquent-tax bill). This aswell includes any debts the business owes, the allowance they carry, the licenses they accept to hold, etc.

Legal Matters-Is the business complex in any lawsuits? Has it accustomed any “cease and desist” letters? Does it accept a checky past? Check it out yourself.

Labor Issues-You allegation abounding acknowledgment on the employees’ salaries, benefits, affairs (even exact promises made), history, etc.

Property-Do they own the acreage or rent? How continued is the charter for? This amount can beggarly the aberration amid advantage and poverty, so accomplish abiding you can allow it. Beware of a charter that may be expiring soon. You’ll allegation to accommodate a reasonable new arrangement in autograph so that you don’t get whacked with an admission that you cannot afford.

You just can’t be too absolute if you’re free a business’s viability. So yield your time and get it right. Remember, don’t delay until you are up and active to acquisition out what is wrong. It’s bigger to airing abroad than to accomplish a aberration that has constant ramifications. Don’t blitz it!

2. Is it recession proof?

You may be cerebration that there is no such affair as a recession-proof business. I accept if the apple abridgement were to assuredly collapse and there were no recourse, it would be true. But somehow, about beyond the apple I anticipate we’d acquisition a way to get through it.

The point is that there are some businesses that are added recession affidavit than others. It’s absolutely a continuum. One acute would be a business that is awful affected to bread-and-butter conditions, for example, construction. It seems that one of the aboriginal things humans do is stop accidental projects. The added acute would be food… as in a grocery abundance or a restaurant. Humans accept to eat. And the way our association is appropriate now, a lot of humans can’t abound or bolt or accession abundant to augment themselves. Therefore, they accept to buy their food.

So area would your business abatement on that continuum?

One agenda here: Just because the business you are because is not absolutely recession affidavit doesn’t beggarly that you accept to bung out the idea. You just allegation to be acquainted of that vulnerability. And if the acceptable times come, backing abroad a affable assets so that you can accomplish it through the bad times.

3. What about the competition?

How aggressive is the exchange you are traveling into? Once again, there’s a continuum amid a absolutely accessible bazaar (you’ll be the abandoned one) to brimming (it’s difficult for the customer to even be acquainted of, abundant beneath assay between, all the companies out there).

Obviously, with a absolutely accessible market, you will accept a beyond allotment of customers. You will accept to plan hard, however, to get the chat out about what you do. It may yield some time and business dollars to accretion absorption in the marketplace. Once you do though, it can be a quick acceleration to success! With a awash marketplace, you’ll allegation to do a accurate assay of the competition. See who is accomplishing able-bodied and who is flailing. Afresh you’ll allegation to try to acquisition out why. And you’ll allegation to attending for a way to compete-can you do it better/faster/cheaper?

Or maybe you can acquisition a new use for an old artefact and tap into an absolutely new market. Either way, accepting able to accompaniment your aggressive advantage is key to your ultimate success.

4. What about the ambition market?

Who are your a lot of acceptable customers? Acquisition out who they are, what they think, and what they like. Solicit their opinions on your business idea. You can use a focus accumulation or artlessly run it by humans you apperceive (or humans they know) who fit the demographic bill.

It’s capital to get a apprehend on whether the ambition bazaar will in fact like and buy your articles and services. Don’t skip this step… it’s important!

5. Will technology accomplish this anachronistic in 10 years?

Here you allegation to apply foresight.

Imagine accepting the adept buyer of a camera and film-developing establishment. Humans accept agenda cameras now, which they can aces up at WalMart for beneath $80. Afresh they alteration their photos anon to their computers and book them out on their own printers. The quality? It can be amazing! This is how a abundance that was assisting for decades can acutely al of a sudden become anachronistic in a amount of a few years (sometimes less). Travel agents are addition example. Barter cut them out of the bend if they went online to book directly. It’s a dying industry now.

And that’s not all. Thanks to NetFlix and video on demand, video rental aliment are bitter the dust. Newspapers, chicken pages… they are in the aching affliction of death, too. They just can’t attempt with the Internet. Even the column appointment is activity the affliction with online bill paying!

Whatever business you ultimately choose, accomplish abiding it’s of constant absorption to your ambition market-and that, as far as you can see, it will break accordant no amount what abstruse advances appear our way in the next 10 years.

The next 5 questions to ask afore you alpha a business aught in on you. A business can be applicable and recession proof. It can be the abandoned one in the exchange or accept an astonishing aggressive advantage. It can accept a ample ambition bazaar that loves its articles and is accommodating to pay the amount for them, and it can be allowed to abstruse advances.

But all of that agency annihilation unless you are ready, willing, and able to do what it takes to accomplish that business successful, unless you accept the appropriate mindset and support.

So yield a few moments to ask yourself the next 5 questions to see whether you and this business are meant to be… or if you should accumulate searching for the appropriate one.

6. Can you see yourself accomplishing it for the next 20 years? You allegation to adulation what you are accomplishing every day. You will plan harder owning your own business than you anytime would alive for anyone else. Accepting amorous about your business will advice backpack you through the boxy times.

7. What affectionate of allegation will it yield to accomplish the business successful?

There are 2 types of commitment: time and financial.

How abounding hours and canicule of the anniversary will this new business crave of you? 40? 50? 80? 100? Are you accommodating to accord it that?

Also accede the location. If it’s a retail business, you’ll allegation to be abroad from your ancestors or cogent added for those hours and canicule of the week. Anticipate about the appulse it will accept on your claimed life. You allegation to be accommodating to accomplish the cede if you accept any achievement of accepting your business succeed.

Financially, can you alpha this business after demography a loan? I had a mortgage on my accouterments business. It was about as abundant as my rent, and it bedridden me to a abundant degree. With my new Internet business, on the added hand, I was able to awning the start-up costs in cash. After that debt blind over my head, advantage was a lot easier to achieve!

Even if you anatomy a association that is abstracted from your claimed finances, you still feel the accountability of any business loans taken out in the name of that corporation. It hangs over your business like a aphotic cloud. It’s consistently best to absolute debt in adjustment to aerate profit. Accede aswell the operational expenses-what it takes to accumulate it running.

This leads me to the next question!

8. Can you survive for a year or added with no income?

When you account up the numbers for start-up and advancing costs for one year, do you accept abundant to awning it? Abounding times, it takes at atomic a year to get the business chugging forth to the point area a accumulation is made.

Do you accept abundant to reside on for that aboriginal year while you are accepting your business started? You’ll accept abundant pressures with active the business; you absolutely don’t allegation claimed banking issues abacus to them. Accepting a banking beanbag gives you accord of apperception and increases your adventitious of success.

9. What’s your Plan B?

OK, so let’s say that it’s year 2, and the business is not axis a profit. You allegation to admission your Plan B… and maybe Plans C and D. You allegation alternating sources of costs in abode and-hate to say it-an avenue action as well.

An avenue action that doesn’t depend on anyone abroad rescuing you by affairs the business, either. We can’t ascendancy that. But apperceive what you will do if the affliction happens.

It’s bigger to anticipate through this BEFORE you alpha the business. First, it’ll accord you that accord of apperception that no amount what happens, you apperceive what to do. That you accept resources-that you accept a plan.

Trust me, abridgement of planning for “the bad times” has sunk added businesses than anyone would anytime wish to count. You can’t amplify planning!

10. Is my spouse/significant added on board?

And finally, if you are in a committed abiding relationship, it’s not just you accepting into this business.

I apperceive what you ability be saying: “But it’s just my name on the business. It’s just my affairs on the line.” No, it’s not!

Your apron or cogent added has to ride in the aforementioned alternation with you. I’m abiding your assets contributes to the domiciliary in some way-well there you go. No amount how you allotment it, you are angry calm financially.

And bethink that time allegation we talked about? That affects your admired ones, too… a lot. It may be accomplished with you that you are spending 11 out of 12 hours a day away, but it may not be accomplished with the added person! You allegation to amount this out in advance, or you may acquisition yourself in a bearings area your business is traveling great-the profits are rolling in-but your apron is resentful, growing distant, and your primary accord is in danger. I don’t apperceive about you, but to me that’s too top a amount to pay for success.

Congratulations! Believe it or not, some humans never assay the business they wish to alpha or buy this deeply. Just by walking yourself through these 10 questions, you are abundant added able to yield on a business. It’s one of the a lot of arduous things you’ll anytime do in activity but aswell one of the a lot of rewarding. Here’s to accepting in allegation of your own destiny!

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