• Sumo

There are many ways of starting your own business.  Which model is right for you?  Getting it wrong can be expensive, time consuming and frankly, soul destroying.

I have started a number of businesses, but have worked on (and in) many more.

Having spent years helping and training people in sales and other aspects of business (I’m ancient), I have seen a lot of different ways to start businesses.  What are your options?

You can start a business from scratch.  You can buy into an existing business system.  A good example would be learning to be a driving instructor where the school then has a system and formula to assist you to run your own driving school business.

You could buy a business, the café on the corner.  Or you could join a sales system Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) company.  So many choices, so little time…

Even if you decide to start your own business, more choices.  Bricks and mortar, open a shop or art studio, or online, become an affiliate marketer.  (If that expression is not familiar to you, much more on that one another time, but basically an online business where you represent and sell other people’s ideas and products through your own website.)

Take a breath…you probably are already closer than you think to knowing which route is right for you.

But to help you, here are the first 5 or 10 questions you should ask yourself before embarking on your own business.

Broadly speaking, these first 5 are generic questions to set you on the right path.

The second 5 (coming soon…) are to ask about a specific business idea once you have one in mind.

#1            What are your goals (for the business)?

Ah, I’ve put the “for the business” in brackets because of course, your business goals should align to your personal goals (and you know what these are don’t you?).

Do you need an income straight away?  Are you wanting to build an inheritance for the children or your own retirement?  I’m sure the idea is not to create a hobby.

There are NO get rich quick schemes.  Unless you believe in incredible luck, long odds and regularly buy lottery tickets (not recommended), you will not be rolling in money in the immediate future.  So just how long can you afford to give your business before it is paying you well?

#2            What are you passionate about?

You may not be able to make a living out of your favourite pastime.  There are some that just don’t translate into business.  But you must be doing something you really enjoy.

Why?  Because running your own business is hard work, time consuming and with all the other challenges you have running a family, if it is not something you love the energy will fade and so will the income.

#3            What knowledge and skills do you have?

What are you good at?  By the way, if your list here is not long enough, ask family and friends.  You may be pleasantly surprised at all the things other people consider you good at.

Do you know about business?  Do you know how to run a set of accounts?  Do you know how to cook?

Don’t let any gaps here put you off, but simply understanding where you will need help is vital, because you are going to have to find that help.  Which brings me on to…

#4            Who will support you?

A sugar daddy?  Nahh, also not recommended, but you know that is not what I mean.  Family, friends, who do you know who has run or is running a business?

Do you have any role models or are you good at sourcing ‘just in time’ help?

But also be cautious here.  There are many business opportunities advertised that suggest all the help and support you need, but things are not always what they seem.  Don’t take this as a ‘no’, but as a ‘caution’.

#5            How much do you have to invest?

There is a pretty country hotel close to where I live that is a snip at £2.2 million.  Add to that the investment in refurbishment (it’s looking a bit tired) and advertising (business is not so brisk) and you could have a great little business for under £3m.

On the other hand, you could start sell junk out of the attic on eBay for under £5, then move onto buying from car boot sales.

I don’t believe there is a business out there that you can take on for absolute zero, but you know that, especially if you price your time.  But just what sort of investment of time or money can you afford?

The return on that investment can vary a lot.

A reasonable thought is that the quicker you want revenue, the more you may have to invest up front in any one business opportunity.  But having made the investment, the faster return may sustain to give you a good return on your investment, even over time.  Higher risk, higher return.

An additional note I would add is that a very easy and readily available option to start your own business is MLM.  I have looked at, examined, worked with and experienced quite a number.

I will be writing a lot more about this, but in the meantime, if you have any specific questions about an opportunity you have spotted and are thinking about, do drop me a note and I would be happy to give you my input.

Good luck in your search for a business opportunity and comment below on what you find.  Look out for Part 2 and the next 5 top questions to ask when starting your own business.

Originally posted on MumsandBusiness.com