Starting a new business is both one of the most exciting and most terrifying things you will ever do. In order to put the entire enterprise into perspective and thus make it a somewhat more manageable and practical process, you should ask yourself a key question: what start am I?
This big question is, really, a series of smaller questions and answering them with complete honesty will help you focus upon making the right decisions for your company.
What is your role in the startup?
The overarching question for every new business person is what exactly their purpose is. Simple and straightforward you might think, but in truth a lot of people struggle to give a concise response. The first thing to do is be clear about where the product or service is coming from and who is responsible for what parts of it.
It could either be a product brought from your own creative skills, a product that is the joint creative output of you and another person or a product that is the somebody else's creative output but which you are selling or marketing for them.
This classification will help you understand what you should be contributing and how much power you should have in each decision being made.
How separate should your business and personal assets be?
When you first go into business for yourself, one of the biggest dangers is that your personal and business finances and assets will begin to bleed into one another in a way that is both confusing and dangerous. Make a decision right from the start: are you prepared to put everything you have behind the venture? If not, then you have to either make a percentage of your personal wealth that you are prepared to let bleed into the business or make a firm commitment that none of your own assets will be on the table.
None of these are right or wrong – it is totally up to your own personal levels of comfort and ambition. Once a decision is made, however, stick to it no matter what happens.
Is your eye on going public?
Here is another seemingly simple question that an awful lot of business people do not answer straight off the bat. It might be the case that you want to go public as soon as the chance presents itself or that you never want to hand over your business' independence. Or, it might be that you have reservations about going public and need more information about how wise a choice it would be.
Whatever your position is, be sure of it before you launch the company and it will help keep your focused on doing the right thing.