Starting your own business takes courage and commitment but if you’re thinking about it challenge yourself to start finding out if it’s a viable prospect. If you find there is potential in your idea and you are committed, you can make it a success. Find some tips below.
You will need to put together a business plan detailing how your business will work, how you plan to finance it and the projection of your business over the next three years. Look at the points below to get started and then research, research, research (there’s lots of free advice out there – some links are on this page to get you started) to get your business plan right.
Research your market
Get as much information as you can about your market. Know who your customers are going to be. Make sure there is a need for your product or service and ensure that you are able to reach your market effectively. Find your competitors and learn from them. You can learn a lot from other people’s successes and mistakes. What are they doing well? What can you copy? Where could they improve? What can you learn from them? You could even work for a competitor before you get started. This way you’ll have lots of inside knowledge about the business and you can decide if it’s really for you.
Find a mentor
Find yourself people you can ask advice from. Is there somebody you know who has just started a business who may be able to mentor you at the beginning of your journey?
Get experience in your business area
Can you work for a company who is trading in your area to learn the inside secrets of the job? Even if it is a trainee position the experience may be invaluable to find out if the business really is for you.
Starting small is less scary and isn’t as risky. Can you start your business part time whilst you’re still in a salaried position. Many successful people do this. Look at this article from money magazine Are there friends, family or neighbours you can use as your first customers?
Marketing and Selling
How are you going to market and sell your product? Will you sell through the Internet, at events, via a shop, through other people’s shops or mail order? How will you get new customers? Will you advertise through magazines and newspapers? Will you use the internet?
Running your business
How will you run your business? Where will you be located? Will you work from home? Will you need to store stock? How will you manage your time? What percentage of time will be spent marketing, selling, distributing, dealing with paperwork, bookkeeping and managing your accounts? What happens if you become very successful? How will you cope with an increased work flow? Will you need to employ staff? How will you cope if you don’t get the sales/income you need? Planning for every eventually is very important and will give you peace of mind that you can cope with every eventuality.
You will need to determine the start up costs of your business and how you are going to finance it. What equipment will you need to buy? Will you need to rent somewhere to run your business from? Will you need to employee staff? You may need to appoint an accountant annually to sort out your tax return, remember to include this in your costing. Where will you get the money to finance your business? The bank is more likely to loan you money if you are putting some capital into the project yourself as it shows commitment and a belief in yourself. You will need to forecast the cash flow of the business for the first three years. What is your expected turnover? When do you expect to break even? When do you expect to be making a profit? There are a lot of financial implications to consider so get as much advice as possible, preferably free. Many banks have lots of leaflet, start up packs and booklets which offer free advice. The Internet has a wealth of information.