After much deliberation, assessment and thought, you have decided you have the skills of an entrepreneur and want to go ahead and set up your own business. So, what’s next?
The first thing to do is research your idea in an in-depth manner. You might have amazing thoughts, but they may have been tried a trillion times before and failed, or there may be no space for you in the market. Look at your potential competitors and analyse how they market themselves, what they offer and what you could do better. If you plan to be in direct competition with others you need to think about what makes YOU stand out from the crowd.
It is possible to get some good advice from a business advisor but remember that this will cost so if you decide to go down this route make sure you tie this in with your overall costs. These costs might include the amount of capital you need to get your business off the ground, money for goods, premises or storage space and marketing expenses such as adverts, stationery and business cards. Ensure that every angle is scrutinised carefully so you end up with a true figure.
Whether you need to approach a bank or not, writing up a business plan will help you to clarify what you hope to achieve. Not only will your plan focus on overall monetary issues but it will also enable you to set short, medium and long-term goals helping you to stay focused and make good business decisions. By carefully setting clear steps, not only are you giving yourself something to aim for, you are being forced to systematically plan your business’s future. This process will see you find new ways for your company to grow and will undoubtedly lead to a bright future. Success doesn’t usually come from blindly stumbling up a path taking turns as they appear, or by being frivolous with money and opportunities, it comes from careful planning and research. However, this doesn’t mean everything is set in stone! Goals can change as your business does. If something isn’t working, there is nothing to stop you from re-assessing your objectives.
When you are considering your business the main thing to be aware of is making sure you don’t offer so much that you find yourself drowning and unable to offer your best in a particular area. There is no point in starting out with the notion of setting the world alight with a hundred-and-one products or services when simply focusing on one will get you noticed, enabling you to make a name for yourself. Remember, once you have gained some loyal customers and are credible in your chosen area, you will then have the option to grow and develop.
Take someone like Richard Branson, an iconic figure in the business world. Virgin started as a small-scale mail order company selling records and then as brand awareness increased, he moved onto other things: opening a studio, setting up a publishing company…. followed by planes, trains… and much more.
So, if you have a vision and the necessary personal skills to develop it – analyse, research, plan, set your goals and then…go for it!