1. Where do I want to be in five years. This is a good question to ask yourself. In todays highly competitive world one must have a clear vision of who he wants to be and where he wants to be within 5 years. I often find people that are approaching their fifth year in business, making a reasonable income but utterly frustrated with the amount of hours that they have to put in or frustrated with the type of work that they are forced to do, others just feel trapped and are looking for change.

Decide where you want to be in 5 years, write down on a piece of clean white paper where you want to be in 5 years professionally, socially, emotionally, physically, spiritually and economically. You gotta do it, as they say, if you don't know where you are going any road will take you. If your not good at this get someone to help you.

The Question: What do I want my life to be in 5 years?

2. Do I have the shear will to compete and succeed at the business I have chosen and furthermore do I have the shear determination to follow my 5 year vision. Most successful business owners I've met have above average abilities and thats what allows them to leave the job market and set off on their own. Many unsuccessful business people I meet have average abilities and are better suited for employment of some sort. So make a honest evaluation of yourself, don't get caught up in the romanticism related to business. Be realistic about your own abilities, it will save you much time and money.

The Question: Do I have what it takes to make it?

3. If you are having trouble with the question above maybe this will help. They say that failure is the path of least resistance. So going further in evaluating ourselves, lets look at our track record. If you are a constant procrastinator and rarely get things done right this maybe a bad sign. If you often fail, quit, give up on things, well thats not a good sign either. But if you follow through and stick it out most of the time, there is hope.

The Question: Whats the rest of your life look like?

4. What type of team do I have to make this thing happen? Throughout my professional career I have seen many individuals who claim to have a business but are actually self-employed. There is a big difference. Owning a business, you must have a team even if only one other person. Setting out on a mission alone is noble but hinders your growth and many times leads to failure. Working alone is a difficult prospect even for the most introverted of us.

The Question: Do you have a team?

5. Do I understand accounting is a very important question to ask yourself. People who do not understand the basics of accounting are detached from a core function of a successful business. It like trying to take a jump shot without jumping. A lot can be gained by a few prep courses in basic accounting so that this important portion of your business is not a foggy corner that you hate to visit.
People often ask me, can't I just get an accountant? Yes you can and you will need too to handle tax issues but he will not run your business for you, thats your job.

The Question: Do I understand accounting? (If you don't, you better learn.)

In conclusion I submit that being honest with oneself at the outset can save a lot of time, money and headache. There is a very thin line between doing business and throwing money in the toilet.

About Author / Additional Info:
I am experienced business planner and consultant based in Washington DC. I also own and operate http://www.printmama.com