3 Questions to Ask When Starting a Business

Let’s face it, starting a business can be completely daunting.

When you find your mind wandering in a hundred directions without finishing a single thought, it’s probably a good time to stop and take a deep breath. The kind of deep, belly breath that inflates your whole core and dissolves lingering anxiety once exhaled.

Now that you remember how awesome breathing is, let’s re-center.

There are a lot of questions that come up when starting your own business. Expense reports, market research, business loan applications…FUN STUFF.

But knowing the answers to these three questions is the foundation for the rest. When obstacles inevitably hurl themselves in your direction, these answers will help you remember why you got yourself into this whole business owner thing in the first place.

1. What is the purpose of your business?

What is your why? Without purpose, there is no direction. Make a list of business values. Align future opportunities with these clearly articulated values. Clear business values keep people accountable and focused on the goals of the company without being easily swayed.

How to discover the purpose of your business

  • Why did you start this business?

  • Do you offer a product or service that can make life easier?

  • What sets you apart from other businesses like yours?

  • Are you solving a problem for your target audience?

These are just a few questions to get the ball rolling. Every company has a different set of values that make them distinct. Taking the time to set company values will help with any future company decisions.

2. Who is my target audience?

A target audience is important to keep in mind when creating a brand for your company. That’s why clearly defining who they are is critical. It can influence marketing campaigns, locations, and more.

Ask yourself,

  • Who would most benefit from my product/service?

  • What is my ideal clientele?

Listening to feedback from customers, good or bad, is a great way to understand your target audience better.

Related: Learn how to naturally promote your business with local influencers

3. What are some SPECIFIC goals I have for this business, both long and short term?

Emphasis on specific. “To make lots of money” is a nice-sounding yet extremely vague goal.  Try to break that down into smaller, less abstract goals.

Make these goals by asking questions like,

  • What is the minimal cost to get your business up and running?
  • Should I perform a cost-benefit analysis?
  • What is the best way to track sales and orders?
  • How long until you expect to see a profit?
  • Do these goals align with my company values?

Define and redefine your goals. Edit and tweak as needed. Goals keep you motivated but don’t have to be concrete. Just be sure to have them or else you risk business stagnation.

So whether you’re more of a vision board or list person, taking the time to define the answers to these three questions will keep your business on the path towards success.

Remember,

#1: Figure out the purpose behind the product you’re offering. 

#2: Decide who will most benefit from the product.

#3: Set clear goals that align with your purpose. 

Once you do that, all the other questions will slowly begin to fall into place.

No one is ever 100% ready to run their own business. Just like no one is ever completely ready to be a parent. The trick is to roll with the punches and figure it out as you go.

You got this!

Related: The Secret to Growing Your Business