Creative professionals have a way of thinking that always seems to drum up fresh and innovative ideas. Sometimes, these notions aren’t a fit to include within an existing business and, instead, inspire an entirely new direction.
If you’ve been spending 2020 envisioning something special, you’re not alone. In light of the many event postponements and cancellations, many industry pros have turned their attention to what they do best: creating.
However, launching a new startup or taking on a side-hustle isn’t as simple as drawing up a business plan and going from there. Instead, it’s a multifaceted process that can be challenging for anyone—especially someone who is already running a business.
If 2021 will be the year of following your dreams, make sure to ask yourself these five questions to ensure that you’re in a good place to take it up to the next level.
What do I expect to achieve from this?
Goal-setting should always be the first step of any new project, as it will help you to navigate the process and make the difficult decisions along the way. Get clear on what you hope to get from this new business venture, whether it’s an additional revenue stream, a path to a new market, or simply a passion project.
Who will be my target audience?
Understanding who you intend to reach is the cornerstone to your business model, so you need to define your target audience. Are you looking to reach female executives with a passion for cooking? Will your service help out parents of young children? Your ideal client will drive everything from your messaging to your pricing, so don’t get too far into the details until you’ve sorted out the “who” aspect of your endeavor.
Is my current business stable and solvent?
Running a business isn’t cheap. When you expect to run two (or at least support a side hustle), you need to be sure that your existing business is stable and sustainable. However you plan to fund your new undertaking, you don’t want to divert all of your attention away from your current business only to see it decline. Similarly, you need to be mindful of the other valuable capital you have: your time. It will take a lot of time and energy to start a new project, so don’t plan your launch around the busiest time of year. Managing a side hustle is certainly doable, but it should not come at the cost of your existing business and its clients.
Will I need to expand my team to increase capacity?
If hiring is in the cards, you’ll need to know that early on so you can budget accordingly and ensure your business is up-to-code for employment purposes. It also takes time to create job descriptions and prepare for the interview process, so it’s best to plan ahead. In some cases, you may be able to bring in your existing team to carry some of the weight. Just be mindful of how much work will be required and evaluate candidates’ strengths and weaknesses to match them with the right role.
Are my digital systems in place to ensure efficiency?
In today’s modern world, technology forms the foundation for most successful businesses. From invoicing and accepting payments to marketing and client communications, the smartest business owners are those who embrace tech and use it to enhance their companies. Consider the digital solutions you already have in place and determine whether there is still room for improvement. When your business is fully optimized and streamlined, you’ll be in a much better position to take on the commitment when embarking on a new venture.
While there are surely other factors specific to your endeavor to consider, these questions will help any business determine if and when they’re ready to take on something new. If you identify room for improvement along the way, focus on those areas before taking any big steps with your next project. It’s better to do it right than to do it hastily.
Lead photo ocourtesy Forte Belanger