Starting a new business can be both an exciting and nervous time in life. If all goes well, it could be your passport to financial security for years to come. Which is why you want to make all the necessary steps to ensure that your new business launches from the best platform possible. Which means taking the tips of those who have ‘been there and done that’ to heart from the outset.
Of course, there are plenty of tips that can be found on the internet for how to start your own business. But, a lot of these are
Always Have a Plan
A business plan is the one thing that any new business needs. Think of it as a road map to your business success and don’t be afraid to consult it at every step along the way. The more you use your business plan, the better you can adapt it and it can become a scalable entity that helps to map your future business success.
Your business plan doesn’t have to be a professionally prepared document. But, there are some things you need to include (no matter whether you are setting up a traditional business or not):
- Business Overview – who, where, why, what and how?
- Operations Plan – what is the day to day running of your business?
- Market Analysis – who are your competitors and how do you compare?
- Products/Services – what do you sell?
- Marketing – how will you appeal to your target audience?
- Management Team – outline your company structure (unless it’s a solo affair currently).
Once you have these basics in place, you have a great standing from which you can work to launch your business from. This plan can help structure what you do next, whether you seek outside financial help and even how your hiring process will go.
Test Your Business Idea
Okay, so you have a plan in place. You begin to implement it. Only… nothing seems to be working. Why? Well, it could be the fact that your business idea, while it sounds good to you, isn’t sellable to the right audience in its current state. For this reason, it is vital that you always test your business idea before you launch it (even if you only start with a soft launch).
A comprehensive test of your business idea needs to include comprehensive market research, audience research, surveys, focus groups and questionnaires for your target audience. Amounting this level of data will take time, but it means at the end you will have a better understanding of whether or not your business could work in the market you are targeting.
Keep the Costs in Check
Budgeting is the be-all and end-all of starting a new business. If you follow any tip on this list, let it be this one: don’t spend money without asking yourself three questions. Will spending this money make me money? Is this purchase vital to my business? Can I afford it? You will often find that most purchases stop at question two, as many of the things you may consider buying are not actually vital to your business success.
Spreadsheets are your friends when it comes to budgeting. Input the money you have for the month and your costs from the outset, this way you can see what chips away too much and what can be cut. This can also ensure you have a tighter grasp of your money – especially important if, in the first few months of your business, you do not have any income yet.
Being tight with your money is the best policy in the first few months of starting your business. After all, it is best to have money when it comes time to pay your bills and expenses than to remember your wasted it on some non-necessity.
Earn and Learn
Don’t quit your day job the day you decide to start your own business. Not only could this be tricky financially, but it removes the virtual safety net that having a day job allows you in the first few months of your business. Working 9 to 5 and starting a business in your spare time is a lot of a hard work, but it’s worth it when your business finally takes off and you can securely leave your 9 to 5.
But, remember this: don’t tell your boss about your new business. Do you honestly think they would be pleased to learn an employee was aiming to not only leave, but potentially compete with them? Of course, your business may have nothing to do with your day job. But, that likely won’t matter to your employer. So, keep your business under wraps and avoid telling coworkers for the same reason: you never know who might accidentally let the cat out of the bag!
Starting a new business has many bumps and hurdles to overcome, especially if you have never done it before. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be ready to throw yourself into it with as much enthusiasm and talent as possible. If you do, you may be surprised by the success you achieve as a result.
About Zack Halliwell:
Zack Halliwell is a freelance writer in the business and marketing niche, giving advice on anything from industrial ventilation systems to marketing your latest product. When not writing he can be found on long mountain walks with his dog, Batman.