So you want to start a business?

Here are three questions you MUST ask yourself.

A lot of people have that dream of being their own boss and starting a business but aren't quite sure what to do. Obviously, we all need to make money to support ourselves and take care of our families but let's forget about the money for a moment. Entrepreneurs are incredibly passionate people. They're passionate about their products, their services, or the cause their business supports. Out of all the entrepreneurs I've interviewed over the years, which is a lot, not one of them has ever told me that the driving factor for starting their business had to do with making money. If you haven't yet, check out this free strategy guide of Nine Keys to Success from 100 Entrepreneurs in 100 Cities in America. Of the nine total, there are three keys that stand out to me for someone trying to figure out what kind of business to start. Which brings me to our first question:

1. What are you truly passionate about?

Why is this important? Putting money aside and finding the true purpose behind your business has an impact on several things. First and foremost, starting a business from the ground up is not easy and research has shown that money is not a strong enough motivator to pull you through all the challenges you will face. You always hear that it takes longer, costs more, and is much harder than people thought. This is almost always the case. For Sheila Kemper Dietrich, founder of Livliga, her purpose is to help tackle the obesity problem in America. For Jeff Wester of Ponderosa Forge, it's to create works of art with his hands. For Ryan and Kaylin Chaves of Kicks Sportswear, it's to provide the kids of their community a local place to get sporting goods. For Todd Albi of SilverFire, it's to improve cook stoves to benefit the world. For Joanne McCall of McCall media group, it's to help other people get their message out.

2. What do you already know?

Building on what you know is a critical factor in starting and growing a business. What experience do you already have? What industries have you worked in? What industries do you have experience with? In an interview with Dave Twombly of Central Coast Disposal he shared a perfect example of why this was important for his success.

I came up against things that were a surprise to me, and I was in an industry I knew. If I hadn’t had information to appease the city, the Department of Environmental Quality, and the Department of Transportation, I wouldn’t have made it. So whenever anyone tells me, 'I want to start a business,’ the first thing out of my mouth is, ‘Make sure you do something that you know.’ When you go into business you need to have as much information as possible so you don’t have to learn things later.
Combining your passion with your experience or expertise can help set the foundation for starting a successful business. When you throw in an understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, that's when things can really start happening. Which brings us to question number three.

3.What are you not good at?

As your business starts to grow, the importance of surrounding yourself with the right team of people cannot be stressed enough. Furthermore, surrounding yourself with the right people, who can fill in the gaps of your strengths and weaknesses, can be the difference of success or failure. Looking yourself in the mirror and admitting to yourself what your weaknesses are allows you to then find someone who can fill those holes. By complimenting your own strengths and weaknesses with other team members, and trusting them with their roles, it allows you to focus on the things you are good at.

If you're interested in the Nine Keys to Success from 100 Entrepreneurs in 100 Cities in America, you can check it out here for free.

Jay Glauser