There are things that often get missed when you take the great leap into the unknown and start your business and it doesn’t matter how old or young you are – we all miss something! Take a look at our “11 things you need to check off” before you start your business!
Establish your business and personal goals: make sure you know what you want to achieve both as a business and from a personal perspective – where possible know what the end game is and, therefore, why are you starting up and what do you intend to build? Is it all about generating wealth or is it more a case that you just want the independence of working for yourself?
Assess your strengths and weaknesses: always try and understand what your strengths and weaknesses are because we all have them. When you identify a weaknesses all it means is you need to either identify who you need help from to fill the gap or even take yourself back to school or to a workshop to learn what you don’t know.
Conduct a market analysis: never go into something blindly – always understand what the market needs and where the demand is.
Assess your business idea by doing a SWOT analysis: building something in the hope that they will come is wrong – always try and be certain that there is demand for your idea and in doing so you will be able to understand more clearly what and where it is. Is your idea 100% ready for the market yet? If not, that’s okay – how can you get it there and what additional opportunities are there for growth. Importantly know your threats!
Assess your financial resources and identify potential sources of funds or financing: what money do you have available that you can use and where you have limited funds who and where can you go to raise the money needed?
Identify your customers and competitors: securing your first customer is important so ask yourself who they are? What are your competitors currently doing, who and where are they and then ask yourself how can you secure their clients?
Determine the start-up costs: It costs both real money and material support to get things off the ground. Be clear on how much you will need both at the point of start-up (to kickstart the business) and for your first year – once you know these things how much can you raise yourself and who else (investors and institutions) can help you.
Develop your budget for the first year of operation: always map out two budgets for the year ahead – the first will be for the business but the second needs to be all about you. Keep in mind that it may be some time before you begin earning an income and yet you will still have bills to pay. Never go into a business unless you are sure that you can keep your personal budget above water.
Decide your business location: is your business in need of a physical location or will it live online only? If it does require a physical location where will it be and if online what demographic and language will you be targeting? Make sure you are clear on location both in the physical and online context.
Decide on your organisational and ownership structure: always know how your business is going to be structured from the beginning from shares to be issued to the number of shares you would be prepared to give away in the event you need to raise capital. Wherever possible always try and maintain 51% ownership of your business and always know how much your business is worth based on true valuation. If you tell someone it is worth $1 million or $1 billion they will expect you to tell them how you arrived at the calculation
Put all of the above into a business plan: once you have everything above turn it into a business plan. The great thing about business plans is they are living documents that should be reviewed at regular intervals of your growth. The downside of business plans is we often file them away and forget about them – take time to do a business plan and take the time to review it periodically – don’t file it away at the bottom of the trash can because that just breeds complacency from the beginning!
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