Contributor Karim Abouelnaga discusses four questions new investors should consider before starting a new business in the article “The 4 Questions You Need to Ask When Starting a Business,” featured on Entrepreneur’s website.

“So you decided you want to be an entrepreneur. There are high failure rates, the nonstop work and, if you’re one of the lucky few whose business takes off, you get to shoulder the responsibility of other people’s livelihood depending on you,” writes Abouelnaga in the article. “Of course, there is the flexibility to work when you choose, the perk of being your own boss and the rewarding feeling of building something meaningful.”

In the article, Abouelnaga shares four questions to ask before launching a new venture:

  • Why are you starting the business? Before taking any additional steps, this is the most critical question to answer. Knowing the answers to questions such as, “Are you looking for a more flexible lifestyle?” and “Is your hope to generate a consistent flow of cash and not report to anyone?” will help entrepreneurs narrow down what type of business or, for our industry, what type of carwash to launch. For example, if you want something that is more cost-effective and quicker to launch, investing in a self-serve or in-bay automatic might be a good consideration. If you want to take advantage of the fact millennials are impacting today’s business trends, then investing in a wash type that fits this generation’s needs, such as an express or flex-serve, might be the best route to take.
  • What capital do you have access to? Once the first question is answered, the next step is to evaluate your financial situation. “Evaluate all of your options carefully,” explains Abouelnaga in the article. “Is it possible to get a small loan of a million dollars from your dad like Donald Trump did? Do you have to take on a loan? Are there assets you own that you can borrow against to get the seed capital that you need to get started?” What financial help, and how much you can obtain, will dictate what business opportunities are available to you.
  • What do you know how to do? When it comes to starting a business, a broad range of skills are needed. “You have to understand how to manage people, make tough decisions with limited information and track your finances,” asserts Abouelnaga in the article. “Have an honest conversation with yourself about your capabilities and your shortcomings. Some skills can be developed, while others usually can’t.” Consider your strengths and find alternative routes for your weaknesses. For instance, notes Abouelnaga in the article, if you aren’t a strong manager, find someone who might be willing to mentor or advise you until you have the ability to hire one.
  • If your new venture failed, would you regret it? The odds are not in favor of success for new business owners, but this certainly doesn’t mean starting a business isn’t worth pursuing. “Remember that entrepreneurship is just about the journey and not the destination,” says Abouelnaga in the article. “So be sure to ask yourself, if you started this business and it failed because you didn’t reach your destination would you regret the journey?”

Read the entire article on what to ask before starting a business here.