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5 Questions to Ask before Starting Your Own Company

Josh Hartwell, CEO of MobileDeluxe, discusses the five questions to ask before starting your own company. These five questions will help you decide if starting your own business is the right choice.

  1. Can I do the other 90%?
  2. Do I have the time to fully commit to this?
  3. Am I prepared to make all the choices?
  4. Do I have the confidence to begin this journey?
  5. What's the plan?

So starting a company is a very daunting task. But what I found in my experience is that if you asked yourself these five questions before you start your company, you can set yourself up for success.

This first and maybe the most important question is can you do the other 90%? Presumably, what you’re starting out to do is something that you’d like to do and you’ll feel good about. And you’ll be good at that part of it. But when you start your own company, there is a whole lot more that you’ll find out what you have to do. And so, it’s that other 90% that you have to make sure that you’re willing to put in the time for.

The second question is do I really have time for this? You have to give up all your other job pursuits if you really want to make it work. You have to dedicate all your time and no more responding to recruiters, no day job. Everything is about your new startup.

Third are you ready to make all the decisions? You’re going to have the final say. You’re going to have the ultimate responsibility for your own success. And while that can be very alluring once you get to some of those difficult decisions, it can also be very challenging.

Fourth how confident am I really? You have to believe in yourself if you’re going to start a company. If you don’t believe in yourself, you can’t get partners, you’ll have a hard time having employees, you’ll have a hard time selling to clients and you’ll have a hard time getting the family support that you’re going to need to make your endeavor work.

And finally, do I have a plan? It can be small. It can be huge. It can be a PowerPoint. It can be an e-mail. But it needs to be written down. And it needs to have some short term goals, some long term goals, things where you can measure your success as you go along.

I’ve had a company for nine years. In starting a company, I’ve found that these five questions are really keys before you embark on your own.