Five Things To Consider Before “Putting a Ring On It” In Business

July 26 - Alex Longoria

Before deciding to go full throttle with your business idea, it is important to have answers to these 5 important questions:

What’s Your “Why?”

There is a difference between a passion project and a profitable project. Bottom line: Your “WHY” should make you cry. Picture this: You’re standing in a mall, looking at a directory, trying to get to “Store of Your Dreams.” Well, it isn’t going to be a straight line. You’ll have to go down the escalator, up the stairs, past the bakery, around the corner, down the elevator and then back upstairs to reach “Store of Your Dreams.” LADIES & GENTLEMEN: This is the road to being a business owner.

At your low points is when you figure out your “why.” Therefore, it has to be strong.

Do you want to work alone or have a partner(s)?

Whether you wish to work alone or partner up with one or more people, they both yield positive and negative results. They say two heads are better than one, so if you enjoy other people’s perspectives and working in groups, then a partnership may be a better fit for you. On the other hand, if you prefer to ride solo because you believe having your face behind your company is more powerful and you don’t enjoy consulting anyone, then maybe working alone is best. What I can say is that whether you’re the CEO or in a partnership, you will need key players to help you scale and grow, so always keep that in mind if your end goal is to be a big business.

What type of business do you want to form?

Something to help you consider your decision on whether to work alone or with a partner(s) is: Which business type will yield the best tax benefits? Here are a few to consider:

  • A Sole Proprietorship
  • A General Partnership
  • A Limited Partnership
  • A Limited Liability Partnership
  • A Limited Liability Limited Partnership
  • A Corporation
  • A Nonprofit Corporation
  • A Limited Liability Company

Head to for a worksheet that helps to define each business structure type.

How do you plan on making money?

Since this isn’t a passion project, you’ve got to nail down your profit model. Too often you find people frivolously saying they want to start a business, but they forget to consider one of the most important things, which is HOW you’re going to make money. Even non-profits have an idea of how they’re going to make money, so it’s not something you should figure out later. Even in the beginning phases of business, you will need money to maintain your website, buy your licenses, pay for subscriptions related to your business, and more.

Who are your competitors?

It is so important to know who is out there doing something similar to you because you want to know how to make your business stand out. This is achieved by doing a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats. Do this analysis on each of your competitors. Be aware of how you can sell against them, but also of what you think they’re doing that works, and what you want to implement. You’ll also want to do an analysis on your own business. From here, you will uncover things about your business idea that will really help to determine if this is really something that you want to embark on.

A picture is worth a thousand words, even more so in a time where representation in media is imperative to the narrative of the African diaspora and on a greater scale, people of color. Today's Woman to Watch is Karen Okonkwo, the co-Founder of TONL, a platform that seeks to transform the idea of stock photography by displaying images of diverse people and their stories around the world. To learn more about her story and the story of TONL, click here!

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