17 Business Questions To Ask When Starting a Business

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 16 March 2023

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

People who are successful in business often ask themselves how they might improve or what they might consider to be more effective. These questions can be essential for professional and personal development in a person's career. Learning about what you might ask yourself when doing a business can help you create and maintain a strong professional presence.

In this article, we share why asking business questions is important along with a list of questions to ask yourself to become more effective.

Why Is It Important To Ask Business Questions?

Asking the right business questions can help you determine whether starting your own business is the right choice for your life. An innovative business idea can be a perfect opportunity to boost your income and become your own boss. Starting and maintaining a business may not be for everyone. Many people try to turn their passion into a business without first understanding what it takes to start and maintain a business takes.

17 Questions To Ask Before And After Starting A Business

Here are 17 questions to ask yourself before starting a business and while running a business:

1. Why do I want to start a business?

Before you start a business, make sure you have a concrete reason for doing so. Ask yourself what inspired your business idea and whether you are passionate about doing it. It's also worth considering your business's potential to make a profit. Here are some other incentives for having a business:

  • Impacting your community

  • Creating something new

  • Gaining creative freedom

  • Doing something you love

  • Solving a problem

Understanding why you want to launch a business can help you develop a suitable business plan.

2. What business should I choose?

There are several different business options you can choose from when starting a business. You might think about single ownership, partnerships or corporations. This can be useful to decide what type of space or equipment you might need and how you might develop some long-term plans. Before this, you can consider a more general idea of the type of business you want, like a retail business or service provider.

Related: 12 Different Types Of Entrepreneurship

3. What problem does my business solve?

A good business solves problems for people of various demographics. Even if you plan to sell products that exist in markets, offering a competitive differentiation, like unique features, can appeal to consumers. Consider some of the problems you or people you know experience and think about how your goods or services can solve them.

Related: What Is A Startup? (With Definition, Types And Advantages)

4. Who are my competitors?

It's highly likely a business similar to what you are proposing already exists. There might even be several competing businesses. To ensure that you can operate a competitive business, it is crucial to research similar companies and work on providing something exceptional.

To analyse your competitors, find out:

  • How they interact with clients online

  • How strong their brand is

  • How they present their products

5. Do I have enough capital for the business?

You need a source of capital to start and run a business. To find out how much capital you need, list all the expenses you anticipate for the business.

Here are some items to consider:

  • Business registration and licencing

  • Cost of raw materials and inventory acquisition

  • Packaging costs

  • Advertising and marketing costs

  • Salaries and wages

Related: 20 Business Skills You Need And How To Improve Them

6. What is the most suitable location for the business?

Location can be important for a business. For retail stores or restaurants, you might consider places with high traffic so people can find your business. For office spaces, consider shopping around for the best price and amenities for the business. If you need various other spaces, like warehouses or storage spaces, consider ones that are easy to access.

7. What is my business plan?

A business plan defines your business, recognises your goals and serves as your company's resume. Its primary components include:

  • Promotional or marketing strategy

  • Market study

  • Income statement

  • Cash flow analysis

  • Current balance sheet

8. How can I create a reliable network?

Networking is essential in business, so you can consider how you might build and maintain relationships. Consider starting with your friends and family to share information about your business to learn of people with similar interests. You can also attend conferences or seminars in your field to develop professional relationships with others.

9. Can my clients refer other people they know to my business?

References can help grow your customer base. You can consider why or how your clients might be able to share their experiences and recommendations for your business. You might also design a referral programme so that your loyal customers receive an incentive for recommending your business to others.

10. Is my business scalable?

Being scalable means being able to adapt to more demand. Consider if you have the resources and employees available to create more products or provide more services to many more people. Try to develop a plan that can help you react quickly to demands, especially if there are seasonal needs. For example, retailers might increase their scale near holidays.

11. Do I have the skills and abilities to manage the day-to-day operation of a firm?

Many people might start businesses around services or creating goods based on their talents. A business requires these, but it also requires administrative knowledge and other operational skills. Consider reading literature and watching videos about business ownership to learn about different components of the business, like developing strategies, creating marketing materials and managing tax responsibilities.

Related: 10 Entrepreneur Characteristics That Lead To Success

12. What is the business's target market?

Clarifying your target market can help you identify which customers you hope to reach. You might look at similar businesses and see what their markets look like when deciding on yours. It can help to create an ideal customer persona, thinking about qualities like age, location and gender to target specific markets in your field.

Related: Jobs vs Business: Key Differences And Benefits To Know

13. How do I set the wage level?

If you have employees, it can help to determine acceptable wages for them early. You can research similar businesses to see what they offer their employees as a starting point. It might also help to identify what you plan to earn to ensure you can pay the types of wages you want to offer your employees.

Related: Salary vs Wage: What's The Difference Between The Two?

14. Do I need a computer?

Many businesses may need a computer for day-to-day operations. Computers are useful in data gathering and processing and accounting. Follow these steps to computerise your business:

  • Choose the ideal system and software for your business.

  • Ensure that you can efficiently operate the system.

  • Consider the cost and returns of acquiring the system.

15. What do I need for communication?

Many small businesses share some common functions, such as:

  • Operations

  • Financing

  • Administration

  • Purchasing

  • Sales

Depending on your business, telecommunication can support your objectives in many areas. Voice and data are useful tools that can quickly adapt to changes in growth and seasonality. How you use telecommunication can impact how efficiently and profitably your business grows in the future.

Related: Communication Skills In Leadership: Importance And Benefits

16. Do I have sufficient knowledge and understanding of the industry?

Industry knowledge can be crucial for starting a specific business. Understanding the different product offerings, marketing initiatives and business structures of your competition can help you design a business that differs from others. Consider attending seminars and performing thorough research to see how you might enter a market.

Related: What Are Tradesman Skills? (With Definition And Examples)

17. What will the marketing involve?

Marketing is a vital business function. There are four fundamental marketing aspects, usually known as the four Ps. These are:

  • Price: the amount you charge for your product or service

  • Product: description of the service or item you sell

  • Place: distribution channels that deliver the product or service to the client

  • Promotion: the way you inform your market of what, who and where you are

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