Whether you like it or not, at some point in your life, the idea of starting a business has crossed
your mind or will do in the future. If you followed through with it and you’re now running a successful
business, thumbs up. If you nursed the idea for a while but had to abandon it or you simply kicked it out
as soon as it crept into your head, then we need to talk. If I asked you why you couldn’t start that
business you thought about, I have an idea of the response I’ll get. In order to avoid a repeat of the
past mistake, this post will teach you how to start a business. We’ll explore the factors you must
consider and the steps you must take in starting a business. Perhaps, at the end of this guide, you
will discover that starting a business is not rocket science.
1. Discover Yourself
A lot of people clearly do not know themselves, and it is because they have not sat down to evaluate themselves. You need to know who you are. But before this step, it is important that you understand why you want to start a business. Do you want to leave your blue collar 9-5 job and start a business so you can have some free time for family and other things, or you just need some extra cash? Once you have figured that out, it is time to decide what type of business to start. Doing what you know how to do and love to do is the best way to make a living. Find out what your passions and interest are; what skills and expertise you have; your
readiness to be an entrepreneur; how much you need and how much you have to spend, etc. If you can ascertain all of these with brute honesty, you’re good to go.
2. Generate a Business Idea
Whatever answers you can find in step one will help you with this step. Generating a business idea means you have considered your personality and skills carefully in view of a profitable venture that is feasible. The best business ideas will either fix a problem, introduce a new technology or way of doing things, introduce something
entirely new or improve on an existing business. All of these form avenues for new businesses.
ALSO READ : HOW TO GROW A SMALL BUSINESS
3. Do Your Research After you must’ve thought up a business idea, the next thing to do is carry out a business research. This is a crucial component as you need to ascertain the viability, marketability and profitability of your business idea. Find out if anyone else is doing the same business; this is your potential competition. Know how they have survived over time, what steps they have taken, what decisions they have made and learn from their mistakes. This market research is not just an eye opener. It should serve as your feasibility study too. A survey is a good research method to adopt
Have you ever had an idea that got you all excited only to speak to someone who revealed all the flaws and why it won’t work or what you could do to make it better? That’s exactly what this is about. If possible, let them interact with your product and give you feedback. Serguei Netessine proposes what he calls a Lean Startup Approach.
It is always important to get a second opinion. It would be a huge loss to spend so much time and money on a business that could’ve done better if you had taken a different approach. There are simple ways you can handle feedback;
– Expect anything
– Always say ‘thank you’ even if the feedback is negative.
– Listen don’t just hear.
– Pick the truth.
– Look for the chain of thought.
Now you can move on to the next step.
5. Write a Business Plan
A lot of people often see a business plan as being too formal, especially if it’s a sole proprietorship. That’s where they’re wrong; a business plan is not for anyone else but you, unless you wish to share it with your financers. However, a business plan is a blueprint; a roadmap of sorts that guides you. It shows you where you are, where you want to be and how to get there. You can read up on business plan for more information. Typically, a business plan should have an executive summary, financial situation, financial projections, and growth plan.
6. Register your Business
This is a no brainer. I can’t possibly emphasize this point more than I should. You should not run a business that is not legal. It would no longer be a business but a hobby. Your business needs to have a legal identity to be taken seriously. You can go here to find out why you should and how you can register your business. This is the only way to make your business official. Decide the business structure, decide its name, register the business and get all the necessary documents.
7. Get your Capital
No matter how small, most businesses require some finance to start. Financing your startup is a crucial aspect of starting a business. Since you have already ascertained how much it will cost and how much you’re willing to put in from your personal savings, it is time to execute that plan. There are various ways to finance your business. If you have enough personal savings and decide to finance your business with some of it, all well and good. Otherwise, you can get ideas from Martin Zwilling. In his article, 10 Most Reliable Ways to Fund a Startup, he provides several windows you can explore.
8. Build your Product/Service
In the words of Matthew McCreary, author of The Complete, 12 Step Guide to Starting a Business, it takes a courage to create a product. Where you lack the skills to transform your idea into a finished product, you’d need to hire people who can. Developing your product goes beyond putting the parts or ingredients together. Every detail, including marketing must be considered. You need to package your product in a way that it can attract buyers. People should see it and love it even before they use it. Building your product or service now takes us to the next step.
9. Get the right Team
You obviously cannot do everything on your own. You need hands; the skills and expertise. Even if it’s a product or service you can create/develop, you still need people to take care of marketing, accounting and management. Experts offer 35 Hiring Tips from the Pros that you should really read through. In hiring people, you should consider the following;
– Hire Specialists, not Jacks-of-all-trades.
– Follow laid down protocols. There are unique situations where you have to follow your heart, but always use your head.
– Assimilate them into your company culture.
There are so much more you can read up on in hiring.
10. Locate your Business
It is now time to find the right location for your business. Don’t forget to consider proximity of your market, distance to raw materials, access roads, internet connectivity, rent in relation to your budget, and several other factors. Other factors to consider include ordinances, the history of the land, demographics, competition, proximity to other businesses, utilities and other operational costs.
This may not be an all-exhaustive approach, but it gives you a comprehensive route to starting a business. If you can do all these things honestly and diligently, you should start making sales in not time.