a business is the dream of many people ... starting that business
converts your dream into reality. But there is a gap between your
dream and reality that can only be filled with careful planning.
As a business owner, you will need a plan to avoid pitfalls, to
achieve your goals and to build a profitable business.
"Checklist for Going into Business" is a guide
to help you prepare a comprehensive business plan and determine
if your idea is feasible, to identify questions and problems
you will face in converting your idea into reality and to
prepare for starting your business.
a successful small business will depend on:
practical plan with a solid foundation;
and willingness to sacrifice to reach your goal;
knowledge of management, finance, record keeping and
a new owner, you will need to master these skills and techniques
if your business is to be successful.
As a first and often overlooked step, ask yourself why you
want to own your own business. Check the reasons that apply
1. Freedom from the 9-5 daily work routine. ___
2. Being your own boss. ___
3. Doing what you want when you want to do it. ___
4. Improving your standard of living. ___
5. Boredom with your present job. ___
6. Having a product or service for which you feel there
is a demand. ___
Some reasons are better than others, none are wrong; however,
be aware that there are tradeoffs. For example, you can
escape the 9 to 5 daily routine, but you may replace it
with a 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. routine.
Going into business requires certain personal characteristics.
This portion of the checklist deals with you, the individual.
These questions require serious thought. Try to be objective.
Remember, it is your future that is at stake!
Answer each question with Yes or No
1. Are you a leader?
2. Do you like to make your own decisions?
3. Do others turn to you for help in making dec
4. Do you enjoy competition?
5. Do you have will power and self discipline?
6. Do you plan ahead?
7. Do you like people?
8. Do you get along well with others?
This next group of questions though brief is vitally important
to the success of your plan. It covers the physical emotional
and financial strains you will encounter in starting a new
Skills And Experience
Certain skills and experience are critical to the success
of a business. Since it is unlikely that you possess all
the skills and experience needed you'll need to hire personnel
to supply those you lack. There are some basic and special
skills you will need for your particular business.
By answering the following questions you can identify the
skills you possess and those you lack (your strengths and
Do you know what basic skills you will need in order
to have a successful business?
you possess those skills?
When hiring personnel will you be able to determine
if the applicants' skills meet the requirements for
the positions you are filling?
Have you ever worked in a managerial or supervisory
Have you ever worked in a business similar to the one
you want to start?
Have you had any business training in school?
If you discover you don't have the basic skills needed
for your business will you be willing to delay your
plans until you've acquired the necessary skills?
Small businesses range in size from a manufacturer with
many employees and millions of dollars in equipment to the
lone window washer with a bucket and a sponge. Obviously
the knowledge and skills required for these two extremes
are far apart but for success they have one thing in common:
each has found a business niche and is filling it.
The most critical problems you will face in your early planning
will be to find your niche and determine the feasibility
of your idea. "Get into the right business at the right
time" is very good advice but following that advice
may be difficult. Many entrepreneurs plunge into a business
venture so blinded by the dream that they fail to thoroughly
evaluate its potential.
Before you invest time effort and money the following exercise
will help you separate sound ideas from those bearing a
high potential for failure.
Is Your Idea Feasible?
and briefly describe the business you plan to start.
the product or service you plan to sell.
your product or service satisfy an unfilled need?
your product or service serve an existing market in
which demand exceeds supply?
your product or service be competitive based on its
quality selection price or location?
Answering yes to any of these questions means you are on
the right track; a negative answer means the road ahead
could be rough.
For a small business to be successful the owner must know
the market. To learn the market you must analyze it a process
that takes time and effort. You don't have to be a trained
statistician to analyze the marketplace nor does the analysis
have to be costly.
Analyzing the market is a way to gather facts about potential
customers and to determine the demand for your product or
service. The more information you gather the greater your
chances of capturing a segment of the market. Know the market
before investing your time and money in any business venture.
These questions will help you collect the information necessary
to analyze your market and determine if your product or
service will sell.
1. Do you know who your customers will be?
2. Do you understand their needs and desires?
3. Do you know where they live?
4. Will you be offering the kind of products or services
that they will buy?
5. Will your prices be competitive in quality and value?
6. Will your promotional program be effective?
7. Do you understand how your business compares with your
8. Will your business be conveniently located for the people
you plan to serve?
9. Will there be adequate parking facilities for the people
you plan to serve?
This brief exercise will give you a good idea of the kind
of market planning you need to do. An answer of no indicates
a weakness in your plan so do your research until you can
answer each question with a "yes".
So far this checklist has helped you identify questions
and problems you will face converting your idea into reality
and determining if your idea is feasible. Through self-analysis
you have learned of your personal qualifications and deficiencies
and through market analysis you have learned if there is
a demand for your product or service.
The following questions are grouped according to function.
They are designed to help you prepare for "Opening Day".