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Do You Have What It Takes To Start A Business?

5 Questions Every Entrepreneur Needs To Ask Themselves

As a coach for start-up entrepreneurs, I’ve learned that a lot of what is needed to achieve success in business is asking hard questions. The decision to build an enterprise from the ground-up needs solid planning, physical, mental, and emotional fortitude, and relationships with others who will be able to support you —no one succeeds alone. If you think you have what it takes, here five questions that I have asked every entrepreneur I’ve ever worked with.


1) What is your business idea?

I know, obvious questions are obvious, but you would be surprised how many people have a hard time giving a clear answer to this deceptively simple question. As a coach, what I am looking for is you have a crystal-clear grasp of the problem you are trying to solve for your customers and whether you have thought through what the business will look like. Have you done market research? Are you practical about what you think you will accomplish, or do you think you will make a million dollars in the first month (you might have read success stories that suggest it is possible, but it’s totally unrealistic to expect that to happen —99.9% of entrepreneurs start at rock bottom).

It is important that the entrepreneur has a clear grasp of business fundamentals and the problems they will face, as well as the resources they will need to get started and sustain their efforts.



2) Has someone already done this?

If a person thinks their idea is original and no one has ever thought of it before, they are almost certainly fooling themselves. The chances of that happening are literally 1 in a billion. If someone has already executed on this idea successfully, that is a good sign: it means the business is viable. You will have time to learn along your entrepreneurial journey how you will differentiate yourself – for now, a successful, unoriginal idea will almost always work best.

Knowing your market also shows you have done your due diligence and are willing to learn. In business, if you are not listening then you are pretty much doomed. You will likely ignore the most valuable advice you receive from people who have tried what you are about to do and learning from their failures. Most importantly, if you are not willing to listen to others, then you probably won't listen to your customers.



3) What is your weakest skill?

All successful businesses require the use of three skill-sets: financial management, operations, and sales and marketing. Put another way, it’s being able to handle the money, be able to handle the work, and being able to attract people and convert them to customers.

I do not think there is an entrepreneur alive that has mastered all three.

All entrepreneurs have one of those three areas as a core skill-set —their dominant strength. They will usually be at least proficient in one of the other two. They often be terrible in the third skill-set. The most important part is knowing which area you are weakest, so you remain aware of where you will need support as you progress and grow.



4) Do you have a rock-solid partner in you life or no one?

This is probably the one that throws most people – they wonder, what does that have to do with business? The truth of it is, embarking on a business venture can be one of the most difficult and stressful things anyone can undertake in their life. If you are going to reach success, you either need the total support of your partner, or have no partner at all. There can not be the slightest waiver of belief in what you are doing, no one distracting you when you need uninterrupted focus. To start a business, you will already encounter a ton of naysayers —your partner cannot be one of them.

Once you are invested in entrepreneurship, you are going to need all the help you can get, and if the person you trust the most is not on your side, the chances of you succeeding are extremely slim.



5) What is your exit strategy?

There are two parts to this question:

The first is how much time and money are you willing to invest in getting the business off the ground. Where are you setting the bar that you need to clear to keep going or cut your losses if you don’t reach it? You you need a certain return on investment, a consistent stream of customers? What I recommend is to set that goal, then review it every 6 months to make sure you are getting there, and revise that goal as needed.

The second part is imagining if someone were to approach you and offer you a bag of money. All you need to do is turn your back on your business. How big does that bag have to be for you to say yes? Many people I coach can’t answer this question right away. That’s okay. It just a question you keep in the back of your mind as part of the review exercise after the first year or two. When you look at your business revenue and what kind of value you’re generating.

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Made it this far?

Do you still think you’re ready to start a business and want some help getting started? I coach entrepreneurs from conception to successful start-up, and would be thrilled to have a coffee and find out how I can help you succeed

Eric McRae

Founder & Start-Up Coach

I live to be creative and find inventive ways that we can change our world.

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