Dear M & M: I am thinking about starting a business. Is there a test or something I should do before I start? –Allen
Dear Allen: I am not aware of one single question or test that one could use to determine the success or failure of a business. However, the answer to the following five questions will be a great start in helping you make some decisions.
The first question one should ask is; will there be a demand for what you are considering to offer? Are there enough people willing, able and ready to make a purchase?
The second thing one should consider; do you enjoy what you would offer (or at least a major component of it)? You will be spending a lot of time and energy in pursuing this business. Why do something you don’t even like?
A third consideration, what does the competition look like? Are there substitutes? Is there one big supplier dominating sales with superior locations, pricing, expertise and market penetration?
An important fourth question, can you make any money doing this? Are your costs to do business low enough to make a profit?
The last question is; do you believe you have all the skills, energy, money, people, and knowledge to start a business?
If you have answered yes to all five questions without doing a business plan you have probably missed or overlooked something. Remember answering the above five questions is a “great start”. One has to do the work on the front end of this idea about starting a business before you just jump into it. There are thousands of business plan templates out there. Cochise College Small Business Development Center or the Arizona Regional Economic Development Foundation have simple and thorough business plan templates you can get at no cost. They have people on staff to walk you through the any business plan temple and work with you on your plan one-on-one at no cost if needed. Give Mark or Mignonne (M & M) a call for help. Understanding what legal entity would be best for your situation, developing an accounting system, setting up banking, licensing, developing an organizational chart, branding, marketing plans, mission and vision statements, goals, timelines, partnership agreements and developing an exit strategy are just a few of the other areas that one needs to cover before they consider launching any new enterprise.