When you start a new business, that blank canvas can be a blessing. You can pretty much do what you want. Most people start with a rough idea, then register their business names and start writing everything down. Which is great. The more you write down, the more you will know what you don’t want - which is essential.After you have your business name - then what? Well, there are some things you can do in preparation for heading to the bank, and general foundation laying. Some of it is personal after all this all rests on your shoulders, and some of it is working in your business.
It’s All On You, Kid
So after the initial excitement, you’re going to be having the realization that it all depends on you. If you don’t wake up to get the business going - it simply won’t. So think about your personality traits. Answer these questions:
- * What are your passions - do they match your business idea?
- * What are your expertise?
- * What skills do you have that can be transferred?
- * How much do you have to invest in your business?
- * How much money do you think it will take to get the business off the ground?
- * Do you have the time to dedicate to it?
- * Does it match your lifestyle?
There are more, of course. It is essential to look at who you are as a person. It takes dedication and striving for knowledge to get ahead no matter what sector your business is in.
After the name and initial business idea - it is time to perfect it. Sit down and start brainstorming. Think about what you want to produce, where do you want to see your products? If you have some people close to you that are known for being upfront and pulling no punches - invite them over. They will let you know if your idea is a bit too off the wall. Of course, you can choose if you listen to them or not.Once you have your business idea, try not to pile on extra services, you will just be diluting the idea that you have already. Start looking into the technology that is being released in the next few years, see if any of it will be applicable to your business - and is it worth waiting for those releases (most people won’t want to wait).
Another excellent way business ideas are born is when someone repeatedly gets annoyed by something. Problem-solving items are an idea because you can be sure that if it annoys you - it annoys someone else too.Transfer your skills to something new. Many of what we learn in university and in the early years of our career can be transferred into new things. It’s all about working out how you can attack something from a new perspective. Fresh eyes can be revolutionary.
If your idea is going to be a flop or a huge success - you can usually tell in the early stages of honest market research. If you start digging around, you will likely find that you aren’t the only person who had your idea. There will be more. Check and see how those businesses are doing. If they are thriving, you can be sure that there is a market for what you want to do.If not - have a look at why.
Don’t be shy to really look into your potential competition. You have access to their websites, social media, and in most cases, their filed taxes. If they are making money - how much.At a minimum, you need to look into these types of marketing research:
Primary Research: Interviews, on the phone, or face to face. Surveys - mailing lists work the best and are most cost-effective. Focus groups - invite people along for a chat and get as much feedback as you can.Ask them what they think about when they are buying a product - include price as this will be one of the most significant factors and will allow you to price yourself correctly.
Secondary Research: You will be analyzing previously published data intending to apply it to your primary research and have a fully rounded market research paper.
Making It Official
Even if you have already registered your business name, you have a long way to go because you can start adequately trading. Here is a short list of what you will most likely be required to do.
- * Your business structure - this important due to taxes and liabilities
- * Business Name - and check it isn’t already take on social media channels and web space too
- * Register the business
- * Federal Tax ID
- * State Tax ID
- * Permits
- * Licenses
- * Bank Account - depends on what your legal structure is as to what you will need
- * Copyrights, trademarks, patents
There may be other requirements in your country of residency - so always check.
Now you have done some serious research into the potential of your business and managed to get everything else in order. You can fine tune that business plan - it is the one you will be taking to the bank after all. So you need to show some of the following:
- * Title page: Name of your business
- * Summary: round all of the essential details up and supply them here.
- * Business Description: remember early when it was wise to get streamline and not add too many things on. Here you’ll be thankful.
- * Market Strategy: now you know the market inside out, you will know how best to reach them, including your budget for excellent web design and other marketing techniques.
- * Competitive Analysis: You can have studied your competitors in the market research so you can give an excellent insight into how they operate
- * Design and Development: Think about how you will produce the products and services and how will they develop over the following years.
- * Management and Operations: How will your business run on a daily basis - if you have a job, how will you balance all of this?
- * Financials - a five-year forecast is ideal here. Be realistic, don’t inflate your totals.
There are so many different ways to get your business in the green that doesn’t involve your own money. Think about what will work best for you and what you can afford to lose.Family & Friends: Very often, if your friends and family have seen you working on your business for a while, they are happy to help you a little with finance - but don’t take too much.
Small Business Grant: Search online for all of the grants that you might qualify for. In some cases, you can tweak your business to meet some of the criteria without losing the fundamentals of your business.
Crowdfunding: Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Seedrs, and so many more options for the public to support what you are doing. This typically works better when there is a product that people will be able to have in their hands once you have been fully funded.
Angel Investors: They can change your business life with more than just money. AngelList is a great one to check out. They will have passion and knowledge in your business sector and are worth their weight in gold.
Bank Loan: This is often the last port of call for people now. If you have everything else ready to share with them, as the plans and forecasts - a bank manager can be a perfect partner on your team.
Now it is really time to start. You have all the paperwork, the funds, and now it’s time to begin. It takes a while to get a product from its prototype until it’s ready for the general public. You will be sourcing suppliers and materials, working on the initial idea and producing dud after dud - until you get it right.Or, if it is a service you will need to spend some time perfecting it. That is a case of learning by doing.
Over time you will grow your business. More staff, more products, an office. It will be amazing. But it doesn’t come without hard work first. In your business plan, you probably had a great deal about your growth, and it is nice to use that as a guideline. Gaining and retaining new customers is always going to be a goal for you. The more often you do it, the more growth you will see.
Once you make the commitment to yourself and your business to see it through to the end - whenever that might be, you are in it for the long haul. That means no matter what happens for the next few weeks or years, you need to hold on to the passion you felt when you first wrote the name on a scrap of paper in the coffee shop. Grit and determination will get you very far here, from here until forever - in fact.Not all new businesses go to plan, and if yours doesn’t - dust yourself and try again.