If you are considering joining the 600,000+ North Americans who start a business every year, you’ll likely have your hands full with the myriad developmental considerations this decision incurs. The following is a helpful list of questions you can ask yourself to help ease the pressure of the early stages of your business and transition quickly into doing the work you want to do.
What kind of overhead am I working with?
If you are an internet-based startup, you costs may be comparatively low. But it is important never to underestimate the variables that can dramatically add to your expenditure—after all, the problems that larger corporations can slough off with ease are the same issues that spell disaster for young companies. Be realistic with yourself and avoid making impossible projections or planning for costs you can’t reasonably cover.
What are my IT capabilities?
It’s par for the course these days for young self-starters to have a basic requisite computing skill—today’s young entrepreneurs take for granted skills our predecessors still are struggling to comprehend. This does not, however, equate to invincibility. When things go awry, as they invariably do, how will your company manage its technology?
What are my premises and where are they located?
A common problem with web-based development is that it tends to stay web-based and can have a hard time breaking into the tangible world. Chose your office space carefully, making sure that whatever you choose is within your budget while still being situated in an advantageous area that will allow you to work effectively.
How long before I’ll need to upgrade?
Failing to anticipate future growth can spell disaster for young companies. We are not advocating overconfidence, but it’s important to consider the future ramifications of any growth your company will incur. New employees will require space to work in, and growing popularity can result in the need for enlarged data storage—expensive on both fronts. Evaluate your situation early and often to make sure you don’t get caught with a need you cannot fulfill.
How will I grow my network?
Simple in theory, complicated in practice: an inescapable truth of networking. You’ll want to surround yourself with like-minded people in order to effectively grow your business—a hundred cold calls can be unequal to the single, brilliant chance encounter. It’s up to you to manufacture your own chance.
What need am I fulfilling?
In the world of social media, short attention spans and intolerance of redundancy reign high. Make sure that your business is capable of filling a hitherto-untouched niche, and regularly reevaluate your company’s contribution to the market. If you can’t justify a reason for your product’s existence, it’s not likely a customer will be able to either.
These are just a few simple guidelines designed to set you on the right course. They are by no means reductive, nor are they intended as be-all and end-all templates for success. Indeed, true success often occurs by knowledge of rules, and then by playing on tension within these rules. Good luck!