What If You Asked, “What if”?

The next time you are stuck on a tough small business challenge, what if you simply ask, “What if?”

Are there times in your life when you are presented with a problem you must solve, and you come up empty?  You are facing a brick wall, and you know it.  You have tried your typical problem-solving solutions that have always worked…and you got nothing! Ugh.  And panic might be close on the heels of “ugh” at this point. Or sometimes you simply want to start something new, and fear and uncertainty set in.

What if you simply ask “What if” questions to begin to find your path forward? 

Startup “What If” Questions

Maybe you have always wanted to start a business, but you have not yet. Why? What is stopping you? 

First, let’s look at why people start businesses.  A 2019 survey found that 55% of respondents started their own businesses to be their own boss; 39% wanted to pursue their passion; others were dissatisfied with their corporations, discovered an opportunity, were laid off or outsourced, or were not ready to retire (Guidantfinancial, 2019).  In my years as a business coach, I can anecdotally validate their findings. 

Are you a Millennial or a Gen Z’er?  Awesome. You are 188 percent more likely to want to create a side business compared to Baby Boomers or traditionalists (SalesForce, 2019). And again anecdotally, the Baby Boomers and traditionalists are still starting businesses, too.

Yes, even in a pandemic, people start businesses.  If starting a business seems overwhelming to you, and you are not sure where to start, let’s begin with some “What If” questions.

  • What if you keep your day job and start a side business? What if you don’t?
  • What if you spend X hours a week researching your idea? What if you don’t?
  • What if you contact your library and ask for their research help? What if you don’t?
  • What if you run X percent of your business online? What if you don’t?
  • What if your spouse helps you with a portion of your business, such as technology? website? marketing? graphics? back-office tasks? What if they don’t?
  • What if you take an online course that will show you the steps? What if you don’t?

You get the idea!  There are many free resources online to assist you, as well.

Growth “What If” Questions

You are already in business and are running it in the middle of a pandemic.  You are DETERMINED to come out of 2020 stronger than ever.  Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • What if you go in direction Y instead of direction X, like everyone else is? What if you don’t?
  • What if you increase your sales activities by X hours each day/week?  What if you don’t?
  • What if you turn your knowledge into an online course? What if you don’t?
  • What if you add a product line that seems to be needed right now, but it is outside your core offerings? What if you don’t?
  • What if you concentrate on your core strengths and outsource other activities? What if you don’t?
  • What if you hire a coach or take a course to help you “fill in the gaps”? What if you don’t?


People start businesses every day, in all types of economic circumstances, for a variety of reasons.  And while some existing businesses have failed in this pandemic, many others have pivoted and grown.

Whether you are starting or growing a business, do your research and ask questions.  Tackling questions like those in this article are exactly what we do in our MEG Connect and MEG Startup virtual mastermind groups.

As always, to ask questions and to schedule a free consultation, email me at robin@startuptogrowth.com.  We’ve got this!


Robin Suomi, MBA, is an experienced small business expert and founder of Startup to Growth. She has worked with thousands of small business owners through coaching, mastermind groups, education and training.  Robin believes success is rarely accidental and her passion is to help her clients set and reach their goals. Working with clients remotely through video platforms, she helps clients answer their technical business planning and execution questions as well as supporting them while they explore their potential. She encourages clients to dig deeper, dream bigger, and works with them to create their tangible Success Steps. Check out the website for ongoing virtual Small Business CoachingSmall Business Blueprint in 30-Days classes, MEG (My Entrepreneurial Group) Connect and MEG Startup mastermind groups. Email info@startuptogrowth.com with your questions.