So you’ve got an amazing idea for a new business but you aren’t sure where to begin? Here are some of the steps to complete in order to give your business the best start possible.
Planning and research
No matter how amazing your business idea is, to help bring it to life, you need to do your homework first! Start by carefully researching the marketplace to identify the market you wish to penetrate or the niche you plan to fill, as well as the customers you intend to appeal to. What kind of lives do they lead? What are they looking for in a product or service? How much disposable income do they have? It doesn’t help to have a great idea and then to price it either too high (so it’s unaffordable) or too low (so that you’re not profitable).
Next, take a look at your competitors. What kind of strategies do they use to sell their product or service? Do you have a chance to gain a competitive advantage or is there something special that distinguishes your product from theirs? In a market with lots of choices available, you need to have a plan to stand out from the crowd.
Don’t be afraid to ask for advice! If you know people who’ve started their own business, ask them about their experiences in both starting up and running a business. Their advice and support can be very helpful for you to avoid unnecessary pitfalls on your way to making your business a reality. Also, having strong contacts and relationships with other business people is very important, because networking plays an important part in running a successful business.
The business plan
Drawing up your business plan will help you to define your idea and how your business will work from a practical point of view. You will also need a business plan if you need to apply for funding.
A business plan should include:
- Executive summary
- Company overview and objectives
- Your product / service
- Analysis of the market and competitors
- SWOT analysis – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats
- Marketing strategy
- Financial plan
The executive summary is usually written last, when you’ve finished working out the rest of your business plan. It’s a brief outline that covers the key points of your business idea including your product / service, market overview, objectives, marketing plan etc. If you’re going to send your business plan to potential investors then your executive summary is where you need to make a strong impression.
When you have a plan and a clear goal as well as a good understanding of the marketplace you’re planning to enter, the next step is the administrative tasks that you need to fulfil. Click here to read about registering your business and other legal issues.