Your company must cost you a lesser investment and bring higher revenues over time, if not at the start, says Rohit Mhatre, co-founder, Lokal Kitchen, a food-tech company.
Starting your dream company can be exhilarating and has many perks.
You get to be your own boss, you get complete independence, you get to choose your hours -- and many other things.
While the rewards of starting your own company or business are plenty, there is a lot of groundwork that you must do to rake the most out of your endeavours.
Starting a company without asking yourself crucial questions and making an actionable plan can cause immense losses.
To make sure you are on the right track and ready to launch, ask yourself these ten questions first.
1. Will this company be profitable in the long run?
This is the first question you must ask yourself.
While finances are not everything, they are a core part of feeling like your efforts are worth it.
They are also a marker of responsibility and independence.
If you think your company will not gain enough profits to sustain yourself in the long run, starting the company will be a bad idea.
Your company must cost you a lesser investment and bring higher revenues over time, if not at the start.
2. What are my long-term goals?
Every tenet of your company or business must align with your long-term goals.
It is only natural, that at the beginning, your company will require more than what it reaps.
You must ask yourself why are you starting this business, where do you see yourself in 5, 10, or 20 years, and whether the company will be enough to operate as a primary source of income?
3. Your long-term goals must match the company's ideals.
Do I have the capital to start this company?
Having sufficient finances to start your company is one of the most essential prerequisites.
You need to assess how much money you need for various purposes.
You will need funds to carry out operations, to pay your employees, to source the goods, to hire professionals extending your services, to pack and ship products, and plenty of other things.
You will also need money for the digital aspects like marketing, advertising, building your Web site, and the like.
4. Do I have enough knowledge, resources, and tools to start?
A company not only requires ample funds to get it started but also the necessary intellectual and emotional tools to make it a success.
First and foremost, you must have adequate knowledge about your product or service industry.
Next, you must know how to price your products and services; and whether they come within the acceptable market rate.
Think about the resources already at your disposal and make good use of them to save time and money.
5. Who is my customer niche or target audience?
Knowing who your target audience is beforehand is a vital ingredient for a successful company or business.
The products or services you sell have to appeal to a specific demographic so that you can make enough sales and revenue.
Reaching the right people involves identifying who would want your products and services and why they would need them.
Knowing your customer niche is necessary to remain focused. It is also more likely to help you enhance your reach through proper marketing and advertising.
6. Have I done enough competitor research?
Every company or business is the result of already existent ideas.
The ideas you have, others might have had them too in different variations. You will always have competitors, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.
Competitor companies or businesses not only motivate us to do better and think out-of-the-box.
They also provide us with the necessary insights into how to reach target audiences, how to price products or services, and how to survive the competitive market for the long term.
That is why it is vital to research what your competitors are doing.
7. What makes my company unique?
While every idea might already be taken, your company or business must have a unique selling point or USP to appeal to potential customers.
You need to ask yourself what makes your company special and stand out from the others?
How would your products or services enhance the lives of your customers?
Would your company add value to the array of endless consumer goods out there?
Once you identify what you want to achieve with the company, the chances of shining are more.
8. Have I got all my legal and tax obligations in check?
Running a company is not all unicorns and rainbows, thrill and adventure.
From time to time, it is also mundane but essential.
For your company to be legitimate, you must have the stamp of approval from all the concerned regulatory authorities.
You must register your company, file your paperwork, and pay your taxes within the desired time frame to avoid any hassles.
Ask yourself if you have the right legal and accounts knowledge or team to help you out with the technicalities.
9. Do I need a team or can I do this alone?
Reiterating the point above, you must ask yourself if you prefer a one-man or one-woman show or you want a team of employees to make your company thrive.
Most of the time, it is quite tedious to work alone, especially in the long run.
As responsibilities grow, it can get overwhelming to look after every aspect of your company alone.
Delegating obligations can not only relieve you of pressure but also bring an atmosphere of teamwork and positivity.
10. Am I in this for the long haul?
This is something you should ask yourself multiple times before you start your company or business.
Thinking of running a company can be exciting, but you must be 100% sure of whether you will remain motivated enough to get through the ups and downs.
While your company is in operation, you might come across hurdles that might dampen your spirit. But remaining steadfast and taking steps at the appropriate time can get you through.