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Questions to ask before starting a business

Many people who arrive in the U.S. from overseas are fortunate enough to be able to make an online money transfer shortly after their arrival, thanks to landing a job with relative ease. For others, though, employment can be difficult to find, prompting some to consider starting their own business.

But as financial experts say, starting a business is not a decision that should be taken lightly. What's more, before prospective entrepreneurs think about what type of business they'd like to launch, they should first answer some questions.

U.S. News and World Report recently put together a list of questions that aspiring business owners should ask themselves. Their answers may dictate whether starting a business is a worthwhile investment.

How much has been saved?
Anything worthwhile takes a tremendous amount of preparation before it can be put into motion. As a result, starting a business takes a lot of time to earn the money needed to get things going. That makes it important to save up in advance. U.S. News and World Report suggests that after they send money overseas, foreign workers should be putting as much other money aside as possible to get things started. How much money needs to be saved – and how long it takes to accumulate – varies depending on people's personal situation as well as the type of business they'd like to start.

Am I willing to work alone?
Though some people have partners who can share the costs and experiences of starting a business, entrepreneurs often get things started alone. The news magazine says aspiring business owners should be sure about whether they'll be able to handle working on their own. If not, they may want to talk to a friend to gauge their interest in growing a business along with them.

Do you know a lot of people?
Many people say that success with job searches is often determined by the people that applicants know. This also applies to the business start-up world. Knowing many different people within a particular business can help people get things started more quickly. They may also serve as an early customer base that could swell through word of mouth, U.S. News and World Report notes.

Are you willing to advertise yourself?
The people that business owners don't know, but would like to, requires marketing. This is done by informing a community about the business through flyers and word-of-mouth. However, if people are shy and uncomfortable marketing themselves, starting a business may not be the best idea.

There are several other questions that U.S. News and World Report says that budding business owners should consider. If they answer in the affirmative for all of them, they may find themselves in the company of many other immigrants who've been successful with business development. According to a recent study from the Fiscal Policy Institute, there are approximately 900,000 immigrants who serve as small business owners in the country. That represents roughly 18 percent of all small businesses nationwide. That's more than the 16 percent of immigrants who comprise the U.S. labor force, as pointed out by The New York Times.

And certain states have more immigrant business owners than others, namely California at 33 percent, New York at 29 percent, New Jersey at 28 percent, Florida at 26 percent and Hawaii at 23 percent. Immigrants may want to reach out to their state's department of commerce to obtain more information on business development and what things they need to do to get started.

Helpful links:
U.S. News and World Report – "Starting a Business: Eight Questions to Ask"

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