As someone who is both in business and also plays a role in assisting people in business the question I’ve probably been asked the most is “what business should I do”? Today I’m going to shy away from my usual “whatever you want to do” response and actually do my best to answer this question for you. Now if we throw this question into the current context of Zimbabwe it gets really hairy. Rather than avoid our economic condition I would actually want to include it in the answer. I’ve got here 5 questions to ask yourself to determine what business you should go in to

What are your talents?

“Don’t follow your passion do this instead” is a must read article to help you understand why this is the first question. If you have no competitive advantage you really have no business competing. You do not need to be the best at something but possessing above average skill in a certain discipline is the very first building block to success. List your talents down and you’ll have a list with a few possible things you could do as a business person.

Can you do the required?

Knowing a process is one thing and building a business around it is totally something else. So it’s of the utmost importance to understand what else comes with your chosen business pursuit. Contrary to what you see on social media startup entrepreneurs likely still throw the garbage out and wash their own dishes. Understanding that the glamour that comes with certain jobs is not the only part of the job will help you look at the business holistically.

How much/often do you learn new things?

Sure we can all claim to love learning but how much and how often do we really learn. And yes you may enjoy learning the true destiny of your favourite character on your favourite tv show but this is about learning new things. To be frank, learning is a mostly uncomfortable process that really takes a lot out of you. With learning processes, a lot of mistakes can be made and frustration expected. So it’s something you really have to be emotionally and mentally prepared to do.

What do you find uncomfortable?

This is very important because knowing your limitations can save you from going into the wrong thing altogether. All businesses have their pros and cons, you may be good at one part of the business and struggle with others. Knowing this before you decide on a business venture is useful. Executing your duties may require you to do something unfavourable or uncomfortable such as evicting a tenant who has failed to pay up.

What would you do for free?

Ok, this is going to seem a little contradictory because I just said don’t follow passion but it’s still an important question. Success is hard work for everyone who achieves it, nobody has it easy. The difference comes in how well you can handle the work. One who is naturally drawn to the idea of baking will fair a little better with the pressures of a bakery business than someone who absolutely detests it. The work will need to be done regardless of whether you enjoy it or not, that’s a given. Your ability to do it will be determined by how much you can stand it and that will likely be determined by how much you enjoy it.

The method is not entirely scientific but it does help you think in the right terms when considering business ideas for yourself. So those ideas you have but are not sure about you can look at them with these questions in mind. Business is tough and our operating environment is tougher. Matters of profitability and viability are given in our situation. These questions are about the sort of business person you are and knowing what is within your reach and what may not be.