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#6 Questions You Should Ask Before Starting a Business Often the idea comes easy but the challenge becomes to find the time to execute it through dedicated time and hard work

By Baishali Mukherjee

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Initiating a business is no small task, and the major challenge is the inability to know if your decision was right. When you are working in an organization, the decision-making process is easy as it is more of a group decision, backed by many. To run a company, one needs to take full accountability for the decisions taken and learn how to optimize that decision process quickly.

Hence it's worth taking the time and doing the required homework to really mull over the decision and to strategise for the long, sustained and rewarding journey.

Five established entrepreneurs share their views on the questions a would-be entrepreneur should ask before taking the plunge.

1. Problem I Am Trying to Solve

Start your questing session with "What problem am I trying to solve?" According to Sudip Bose, MD and CEO of Assured Digital, often young aspirants are smitten with the idea of starting a new enterprise. "Thoughts of owning a company and harvesting the financial rewards of a successful business also overshadow reality. If you are not solving a problem, which is of social relevance, you will likely fail," he opined.

Bose's committed love for the digital reality, which he nurtured for years, had established a firm conviction in him about his entrepreneurial endeavours in that space.

2. Do I Have the Time?

Passion cannot beget time. Often the idea comes easy but the challenge becomes to find the time to execute it through dedicated time and hard work.

"It is essential to find out if you have substantial time to devote into your business. The best time to ask yourself these questions is before making any plans about your venture," suggested Bose.

3. Why Am I Doing This?

Arghya Banerjee, Founder of Levelfield School, feels more than what and how it is why you do it that is important. "Ask yourself the reason for attempting to create and build what wasn't there before? What are the reasons for your business to exist? Why should anyone care to buy what you want to sell? Explore these questions and you will be sure about your future steps," he explained.

Banerjee left his secure career to start a school, which lays its focus on imparting knowledge and takes a practical approach to learning. A strong believer in the transformative power of high-quality school education, he traded in his corporate career for a more significant, long-lasting experience as an entrepreneur.

4. Is the Idea Interesting?

It takes at least five years of dedicated efforts to deal with the challenges of a new business. Banerjee reiterated it is imperative to ask if your idea is interesting enough to keep you occupied and engrossed for the next five years to make it a successful business venture.

5. How Unique is My Business Model?

Most people look for innovative, yet familiar, ideas. Do your extensive research on the available products or services to ensure that your idea is not already a market reality.

"If the idea is familiar think about making it more viable, with added features and better delivery. If you can offer better or advanced services through your idea, you will succeed in acquiring customers eventually," advised Pinaki Ganguly, a social entrepreneur and Founder of Rural Organisation For Social Establishment (ROSE), an NGO working for child education in remote villages of West Bengal.

Coming from a nondescript village in Purulia, Ganguly always wanted to work for the cause of development of the underprivileged. When the time came for him to decide the career path, it was no surprise that he opted for social entrepreneurship.

6. Can I survive the Initial Gestation Period Without Earning Money?

Be realistic and ask this tough question. It is difficult decision to start a business as there will invariably be times when you will not be able to earn a penny for months, even years.

"Before taking the final leap, do make sure that you have the financial buffer in place to weather through rough times that most likely will crop up before hitting your eventual success," advised Ganguly.

Baishali Mukherjee

Former Freelancer

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