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Thinking of owning and managing your own business? It's a good idea provided you know what it takes.

Starting a business is risky at best, but your chances of making it succeed will be better if you understand the problems you'll meet and work out as many of them as you can before you start.

Here are some questions and worksheets to help you think through what you need to know and do. Answer each question with a YES or NO. Where the answer is NO, you have some work to do.

Before you start Yes No

Are you the kind of person who can get a business started and make it run efficiently? ___ ___

Think about why you want to own your own business. Are you willing to work long hours without knowing how much money you'll end up with? ___ ___

Have you worked for someone else as a supervisor or manager? ___ ___

Have you had any business training in school? ___ ___

Have you saved any money? ___ ___

How About the Money? Yes No

Do you know how much money you will need to get your business started? ___ ___

Have you determined how much money of your own you can put into the business? ___ ___

Do you know how much credit you can get from your suppliers the people you will buy from? ___ ___

Do you know where you can borrow the rest of the money you need to start your business? ___ ___

Have you figured out what net/loss income per year you expect to get from the business? ___ ___

Are you willing to re-invest your salary/business profits to help your business grow? ___ ___

Have you talked to a banker about your plans? ___ ___

How About a Partner? Yes No

If you require a partner for additional financing, do you know someone who will fit someone you can get along with? ___ ___

Do you know the good and bad points about running your own business, having a partnership, and incorporating your business? ___ ___

Have you talked to a lawyer about a partner? ___ ___

How About Your Customers? Yes No

Do most businesses in your community seem to be doing well? ___ ___

Have you tried to find out whether or not businesses like the one you want to open are doing well in your community and in the rest of the country? ___ ___

Do you know what kind of people will want to buy what you plan to sell? ___ ___

Do people like to live in the area where you want to open your business? ___ ___

Do they need a business like yours? ___ ___

If not, have you thought about opening a different kind of business or going to another location? ___ ___

Your Building Yes No

Have you found a good building for your business? ___ ___

Will you have sufficient room to expand when necessary? ___ ___

Can you fix the building up the way you want without spending too much money? ___ ___

Can people access your business easily from parking spaces, bus stops, or their homes? ___ ___

Have you had a lawyer check the lease and zoning requirements? ___ ___

Equipment and Supplies Yes No

Do you know just equipment and supplies you need and how much they will cost? ___ ___

Is it feasible to buy second-hand equipment? ___ ___

Expenses Yes No

Do you know what your expenses will be for: rent, wages, insurance, utilities, advertising, interest, etc.? ___ ___

Do you need to know which expenses are direct, indirect, or fixed? ___ ___

Do you know how much your overhead costs will be? ___ ___

Do you know how much your selling expenses will be? ___ ___

Miscellaneous Yes No

Are you aware of the major risks associated with your product? Service? Business? ___ ___

Can you minimize any of these major risks? ___ ___

Are there major risks beyond your control? ___ ___

Can these risks bankrupt you? ___ ___

Your Merchandise Yes No

Have you decided what things you will sell? ___ ___

Do you know how much or how many of each you will buy to open your store with? ___ ___

Have you found suppliers who will sell you what you need at a competitive price? ___ ___

Have you compared the prices and credit terms of different suppliers? ___ ___

Your Records Yes No

Have you planned a system of records that will keep track of your income and expenses, what you owe people, and what other people owe you? ___ ___

Have you worked out a way to keep track of your inventory so that you will always have enough on hand for your customers but not more than you can sell? ___ ___

Have you figured out how to keep your payroll records and take care of tax reports and payments? ___ ___

Do you know what financial statements you should prepare? ___ ___

Do you know an accountant who will help you with your records and financial statements? ___ ___

Your Business and the Law Yes No

Do you know what licenses and permits you need? ___ ___

Do you know what business laws you have to obey? ___ ___

Do you know a lawyer you can go to for advice and help with legal papers? ___ ___

Buying a Business Someone Else Has Started Yes No

Have you made a list of the advantages and disadvantages of the business someone else has started? ___ ___

Are you sure you know the real reason why the owner wants to sell this business? ___ ___

Have you compared the cost of buying the business with the cost of starting a new business? ___ ___

Are the equipment/inventory up to date and in good condition? ___ ___

Is the building in good condition? ___ ___

Will the owner of the building transfer the lease to you? ___ ___

Have you talked with other business owners in the area to see what they think of the business for sale? ___ ___

Have you talked with the company's current suppliers? ___ ___

Have you talked with a lawyer about the existing business? ___ ___

Advertising Yes No

Have you decided how you will advertise? (newspapers, posters, handbills, television, radio, Internet, mail?) ___ ___

Do you know where to get help with your ads? ___ ___

Have you watched what other competitors do to get people to buy? ___ ___

The Prices You Charge Yes No

Do you know how to determine what you should charge for each item you sell? ___ ___

Do you know what your competitors charge? ___ ___

Buying Yes No

Do you have a plan for finding out what your customers want? ___ ___

Will your plan for keeping track of your inventory tell you when it is time to order more and how much to order? ___ ___

Do you plan to buy most of your stock from a few suppliers or several? ___ ___

Do you know the advantages and disadvantages of each supply method? ___ ___

Selling Yes No

Have you decided whether you will have sales associates or self-service? ___ ___

Do you know how to encourage customers to buy? ___ ___

Have you thought about why you like to buy from some sales associates while others turn you off? ___ ___

Your Employees Yes No

If you need to hire someone to help you, do you know where to look? ___ ___

Do you know what kind of employees you need? ___ ___

Do you have a plan for training your employees? ___ ___

Credit for Your Customers Yes No

Have you decided whether or not to let your customers buy on credit? ___ ___

Do you know the good and bad points about joining a credit-card plan? ___ ___

Can you tell a deadbeat from a good credit customer? ___ ___

A Few Extra Questions Yes No

Have you figured out whether or not you could make more money working for someone else? ___ ___

Does your family go along with your plan to start a business of your own? ___ ___

Do you know where to find out about new ideas and new products? ___ ___

Do you have a business plan for yourself and your employees? ___ ___

If you have answered all these questions carefully, you've done some hard work and serious thinking. Moreover, you have probably found some things you still need to know more about or do something about.

Do all you can for yourself, but don't hesitate to ask for help from people who can tell you what you need to know. Remember, running a business takes courage! You've got to be able to decide what you need and then go after it.

Good Luck! For More Information Click Here

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