Start Your Business
GUIDE: START A BUSINESS > PART ONE
Evaluate Your Business Idea
Research your customers and business competition.
A restaurant doesn’t just make the most delicious sandwich ever: It sells hundreds of sandwiches a day. And an author doesn’t just write the most beautiful story imaginable: She sells a ton of books.
A sandwich and a story—those are ideas. The five-star restaurant and best-seller book—those are successful businesses. And the big difference between the two? The people who are willing to buy: the customers.
Yes, ideas are everywhere. Successful entrepreneurs know not every idea is a good business opportunity. Because at the end of the day, an idea can certainly change the world, but a business also must make money.
How do you know if your idea is a good business opportunity? If people are willing to buy it. Before you bet the ranch on your idea, take the time to research who will buy your product or service and what competition you will face.
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Here are some questions to ask yourself to begin to grow your idea:
- What kind of business do I want?
- What products/services will my business provide?
- Why am I starting a business?
- What is my target market?
- Who is my competition?
- What is unique about my business idea and the products/services I will provide?
- How long can I have to finance the company until I start making a profit?
- How will I price my product compared to my competition?
- How will I market my business?
- How will I set up the legal structure of my business?
- How many employees will I need to start up?
How do I evaluate my business idea?
Before starting a business, you should understand what you’re signing up for. You need to understand your market, know your competition and research your idea to make sure you can turn a profit. So, before you make business cards, commission a logo and definitely before you lease a space or buy a building, fully research what you need to do to start a business.
Here are your first steps:
Get your personal action plan
Receive a personalized plan of the next steps you should take to start or grow your business. Whether you’re just starting out or thinking about taking your business to the next level, we’ll send you an action plan specific to your needs. And, of course, it’s free.
Take a free business class
Taking a class on how to start a business will give you perspective on the entrepreneurial mindset you need to have and understand in order to set your business up for success.
Use our business calendar to find startup classes in your community.
Learn the language
The world of entrepreneurship comes with its own language and if you want to be taken seriously when talking to potential funders and other entrepreneurs, you’re going to need to understand a few key startup terms.
Other resources to help you get started
Successful entrepreneurs know that not every idea is a good business opportunity. Before you bet on your idea, research who will buy your product or service and what competition you will face.
- Evaluating Your Business Idea (Missouri Small Business Development Center at UMKC)
- 20 Questions to Ask Yourself (Small Business Administration)
- 14 questions to determine your RAMP
- Buying a Franchise (Entrepreneur Magazine)
- SBA FranNet on choosing a franchise
- Buying an Existing Business (SBA)
> > Remember if you ever feel overwhelmed, give us a call at 816-235-6500 or send us a message. We can guide you through the next steps you need to take to start your business.