We’re not going to lie to you. Starting a business isn’t easy and requires a lot of hard work and preparation. However, if you’re determined and ready to change your life, all those challenges shouldn’t scare you off!
To make the beginning of your journey as easy as possible, we’ve got a list of five things you need to do before you start!
Write a business plan
A business plan is an essential document that helps turn an idea into an actual business. It guides you through every stage of setting up and running as it outlines what actions you need to take in order to successfully launch and grow your business.
A business plan also helps you secure funding. Most times investors or banks want to see a well-researched detailed business plan before investing. It helps them understand how you operate your business and how your cash flow predictions look like, so they know whether they will receive a return on their investment.
A lot of business owners think that a business plan is something you write once and never get back to. However, it’s a live document that needs to be reviewed and updated regularly. As your business grows, you might add a new revenue stream or change your objectives. This should be reflected in your business plan.
When writing a business plan, you need to include things such as an executive summary, a description of your business and any products or services you offer, market analysis and financial projections.
Do market research
Don’t dive into an ocean before learning how to swim! You need to do a lot of research before starting your business.
The first thing you need to identify is your target market. Understanding who needs products or services you offer will help you come up with appropriate marketing and sales techniques, so you give your customer what they want instead of what you think they want.
When researching your target audience, you need to identify basic characteristics such as age, gender and location as well as their socioeconomic status and psychographics.
Another thing is competition. Even if you have an amazing idea, the chances are someone else hasn’t had the same or very similar idea before! This means you will always have competitors. However, the fact that someone is already doing it, doesn’t mean you can’t be successful! Once you identify your competitors and things like their prices, marketing strategies and strengths and weaknesses, you can then come up with your unique selling point and even learn from the mistakes without making them yourself!
You can learn more about researching your competitors here.
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Sort your marketing out
Even if you have a product or service that can change peoples’ lives, no one will find out about it if you don’t market it.
When you prepare your business plan and analyse your competitors, you have just about enough information to create a marketing plan.
Knowing your target audience lets you know how to reach your potential customers. Where do they spend their free time? What social media platform do they use? Maybe traditional advertising would work better?
Moreover, once you research your competitors, you know how they do their marketing. You can adapt their best practices, learn from their mistakes as well as come up with something completely different, so you stand out from the crowd!
When you know all those things, all you have to do is write everything down and start creating your content! Start doing it before the launch. Make people excited about your brand and build an audience who is waiting to buy from you.
Estimate your startup costs
Many entrepreneurs misjudge how much money they need to start their business. If you spend more than you budgeted and don’t make a profit straight away, you might not be able to afford your business essentials such as rent or supplies. If you underspend, you might be taking away the opportunity to succeed. Being able to save money is a great skill to have. However, sometimes you need to invest more to give your business a realistic chance and get a return on that investment.
Once you have a business plan in place, you’ll have a better understanding of how much money you need to start and run before making income. Then you can think of the ways to fund your business. Think if you can self-fund it or you need to get a startup loan or find some investors.
Look for a mentor or advisor
Starting a business can be a difficult journey… when you go on it alone! Getting advice from someone who has already been through all of the highs and lows of starting a business can help you set up for success. With years of experience and the right knowledge, a business advisor can guide and support you at every stage of your journey.
Business advisors also have a lot of connections. If you need help from an expert (e.g. help with creating your marketing materials or even getting a business loan), they can point you in the right direction. They can also help you expand your own network by introducing you to other professionals or letting you know about the industry-specific workshops or networking events. Wondering why you should take time to attend networking events? Read here.
If you decide you’d like to work with a business advisor, you don’t have to look for one far! We have a team of experienced professionals who have helped hundreds of people to start and succeed. And they’re ready to help you now!