We all get those days where we think ‘I could be my own boss’. But when it comes to it, can you actually do it? Make sure you fully understand all aspects of running a business, not just the subject matter you know, or the product you might be selling.
- Do you have the skills to run a business?
2. Research, research, researchYou might think you have done your research, but what do you really know about the market you are about to enter? Business is so competitive nowadays, you need to ensure you are aware of your competitors. What are they doing that you are not? Who will your customer be? When will they be buying? How will they buy from you? All these questions and many more form part of your research. You can have the best product, the best service, the best website, but if you don’t have the customers you don’t have a business.
3. FundingYou know what you want to do, you have done your research and believe you will have customers. So how will you fund it all? Working out your start-up costs for the business is crucial. Often, people underestimate the costs involved. It isn’t just about merely about stock or needing a bit of stationery, it’s all the elements to starting your business including, business insurance (all types), marketing material costs, legal set up and any associated legal fees to name but a few. Completing a start-up costs sheet can help you to cover everything.
4. MarketingHow will you market the business? Even when you are busy you still have to make time for marketing. Today there are a vast number of ways to promote your business. Digital marketing, asking for recommendations, networking and of course good old word of mouth are some of these. Are you confident in all these areas? Will you have enough time to do it? Love it or hate it, when it comes to marketing you are the best person as you know your business inside and out. But if you don’t feel confident 'selling' yourself or using social media, then find someone to outsource this to. However, make sure they fully understand everything you do as they are acting as your representative.
5. PlanningFinally, you need to plan. As Benjamin Franklin once said “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. You need a plan to pull it all together. Having a business plan helps you know how, who, what, where, when and why. A good business plan is essential regardless of whether you are looking to raise finance for the business or not. It provides you with a basis on which to evaluate how your business is doing and knowing when it will all happen. This also serves a good reminder of what you set the business up for.
By Greg Thomas, director at MiVentures