6 Steps to Take Before Starting a Business

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Discovering a great idea for a business can be exhilarating.  Unfortunately, many people struggle to turn their idea into a successful business.  It is easy to make silly mistakes that cost both time and money.  With a little forethought, those mistakes can be avoided and you can begin running your successful business sooner.  Here are 6 essential steps you must perform to turn your dream into a profitable business venture. 

Define what do you hope to achieve with the business

It helps to set your expectations for the business early on.  As you plan the business, you can test its potential success against those expectations.  If you want the business to provide enough money so you can quit your current job, make sure that it has the financial viability to do so at the planing stage.  Some people might want a business that only involves three hours of work per day.  As you write the business plan and assess the business’ viability, make sure that your goals remain viable.

Will your product or business be viable in the market?

You must ascertain if your offering will be viable in the market before you open your doors.   The first step here is to define your product.  What exactly will you offer in the market?  How will your offering benefit potential customers?

The next step is to understand your potential market.  Will you be selling over the Internet to a specific demographic, or will you have a storefront where anyone can wander in?  The more you know about your target demographic, the better you can understand your offering’s viability in that market.  To gain a better understanding of the market, talk to people who may be interested in your product.  Test the idea on family and friends to see how they react as potential consumers.

At this stage, it helps to have a rudimentary price structure for your offering.  When doing any testing of consumers within the market, make sure you include the price.

You should also consider who the main competitors are in the market.  Are they providing a stronger offering than you already?  You must be able to directly compete against them or create a niche in the market that has not been filled.  Ensure that competitors in the market are actually successful.  There is no point entering a market if there are four or five main competitors that are already struggling with sales due to low demand.

Create a business plan

Now it’s time to create a solid business plan that brings together your business idea, market analysis, competitor analysis, marketing strategy and financial analysis.  This is when you collect hard data to test the viability of your business.  A business plan helps you focus your intentions into action.  Additionally, a business plan is essential if you are seeking finance or a business partner.  It is also critical for keeping the business on track.

Determine if you have the willpower and money to finance the business

If your business plan shows the offering is viable within the market, it’s time to test yourself.  Assess how much time, money and work it will take to bring your product or service to the market.  There will be start-up costs, significant amounts of time, stress and lots of work involved.  Are you driven to make the business work or is it just something you want to try when you have spare time?

The idea might be great, but you might not have the resources to commit right now.  If you don’t commit yourself to the project, it will inevitably end in failure.

Consider how long it will take to make the first sale.  Do you have the money to spend many weeks or months establishing a business, then waiting for it to become cash-flow positive?

Train yourself to sell this product or service

Once you have committed to making the business work, it’s time to become a master seller of the product or service.  Become better at sales and train yourself to sell this particular offering in this particular market.  You need to be able to clearly express why your business is better than other competitors and compel customers into taking action.  Sales do not come naturally to some people.  However, if you have committed yourself to the business, you will do what it takes.

Sort the financial aspects of the business

If you require money to get the business started, now is the time to find finance.  There are many sources of finance for a new business including banks, family, friends, product pre-sales, crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter, home equity loans and venture capitalists.  You could also raise the money yourself by simply selling assets.  Unfortunately this is where some businesses fail — they simply can’t get the finance together.  By having a very well thought out market offering and business plan you maximize your chances of obtaining funding.

Secure the assistance of experts and meet legal requirements

Make sure your business has all of the necessary legal and financial requirements.  Set up a corporation, sort out insurance, patent any inventions and trademark your business name.  Make sure your business does not infringe upon the trademarks or patents of other businesses.

Don’t assume you can make your business safe by yourself.  Obtain expert advice from lawyers and accountants to make your business secure.

Start selling!

Now is the time to see if your business can make it in the market.  Your business has the highest chances of success if you are committed and willing to put in a lot of hard work.

Keep your eye open for changing market conditions and don’t be afraid to adapt your business to suit them.  Some businesses start out selling one product or service, then completely shift direction when they see another opportunity.  Stay alert to any opportunities and your business will thrive in the coming years.

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