This piece originally appeared on AllBusiness.com.
Starting your own business is no small undertaking, so it’s worth taking the time to really think through the decision and plan out your strategy for the long, rewarding road ahead.
Six entrepreneurs from FounderSociety, a network for entrepreneurs, share the top questions a would-be business owner should ask themselves before diving headfirst.
1. What problem am I trying to solve?
“The first thing you should ask yourself before starting a business is ‘What problem am I trying to solve?’ Too often, entrepreneurs are enamored with the idea of starting a new venture, owning their own company, and reaping the financial rewards of having a successful business that they overlook what really matters. If you don’t passionately focus on solving a common problem, you will likely fail.” – Damon Nam, Verse
2. Do I have the time?
“I am sure you have the passion to do it, but do you have the time? I have always found the easy part is the idea; the challenge is finding the time to make that idea a successful company. Do you have time now, and will you in the future? Now’s the best time to ask yourself these questions and plan accordingly.” – Jason Fisch, Fisch Solutions, Inc.
3. Why am I doing this?
“What you do and how you do it isn’t as important as why you do it. Why are you attempting to create and build what wasn’t there before? Why does your business need to exist? Why should anyone care? These are questions we try to explore with every brand and project we work on.” – Steven Picanza, Latin & Code
4. Is this five years’ worth of “interesting”?
“If you’re successful, you will spend at least five years working on the challenge you’re trying to solve. Ask yourself if the business problem is interesting enough that it can occupy 90 percent of your mental space for the next five years.” – Lisa Curtis, Kuli Kuli
5. What differentiates my business idea?
“People want something innovative, yet familiar. If you’ve come up with an amazing idea, make sure you do your research on potential competitors’ products or services to ensure what you will provide isn’t already out there. Then, think about how your business’s products or services offer an added upside for users.” – Jessica Baker, Aligned Signs
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6. Can I last six to 12 months without making any money?
“It’s not the most exciting or fun question to ask yourself, but it’s the truth. Starting a business isn’t easy, and there will come times when you simply won’t be able to cut a paycheck for yourself. Before starting a business, make sure you have the necessary finances and resources in place to weather any disasters that may arise before hitting your eventual success.” – Zac Johnson, Start a Blog