7 Important Steps for Every Start-Up
Ready to take the Entrepreneurial plunge? Start with these 7 essential steps that every start-up should follow.
There is much be gained from starting a business. Becoming self-employed gives you more freedom, independence, and a great sense of achievement. However, it can also bring uncertain times, a lot of pressure to make things work, and a huge amount of responsibility. It takes a specific type of person to be able to take the risk and follow their entrepreneurial instincts, a person who is determined, ambitious, patient, and can work under pressure. If you have those characteristics, you may have already thought about running a business or started to take steps to do so. If this is the case, you need to do your research and cover your bases first. Below are some of the key steps you will need to take on the road to establishing an independent business.
You might think you have a magnificent business idea, but how do you know for sure? Research – that’s how. Before you even think about applying for business loans, you need to do some market research to ascertain if your business idea is viable.
Is there a demand for it?
Is the market already saturated with other businesses doing the same thing?
How can you make you different?
These are a few of the questions you need to be asking yourself during this research period. You can also use this as primary research for your business plan.
Before you begin to get into your business plan, think about your brand, and develop that concept.
While this can be modified at a later date, it’s important to show some preliminary ideas in your business plan, if not completed ones, for people to get a better idea of what your business will look like.
You should have a logo designed, consider your business ethos, do you have a motto?
How will your branding be displayed throughout your business?
You’re likely to have some idea about this already but think about hiring a marketing agency to help you develop your brand if possible.
Write a 5-Year Plan
Once you have figured out whether or not your idea is a good one, you can then move on to fleshing out your business plan. You will need to have this ready before you starting sourcing financial support, like any bank, investor or funding scheme will want to see how much you have thought this through and how likely it is for your small business to succeed. It’s always best to plan for the first five years, as it will take time for your business to get off the ground, but it’s not too far in the future, either. In your business plan, you must include your business brand and marketing ideas, a cash-flow forecast, information on how you will budget, how much money you need, whether or not you need employees, etc.
Apply for a Business Loan
Not everyone is lucky enough to fund their business venture by themselves, so the majority of start-ups need to source money from elsewhere. There are several avenues you can explore to get financial backing for your business idea, and you might have to try a few before someone decides to support your concept and make it into a reality. Your bank will offer business loans, but think about looking around at others to see if you can find better rates. You can also contact private or angel investors who might be interested in working out a deal with you to get you on your feet. Alternatively, there are usually government-run schemes that can offer low-interest loans or grants for certain businesses, and your idea might qualify for this kind of support. Just make sure you turn up to those meetings with a solid business plan and brush up on your public speaking skills to make a great presentation that will blow them away.
Once you have secured financial backing from somewhere, it’s always wise to revisit your budget and make sure you haven’t missed anything. You might find that certain things were more expensive than you originally thought, or perhaps cheaper. Prices change all the time, so it’s important to have some money stored away in case of an emergency. Consider where you can make cut-backs and what is essential to keep your overheads low and profit margins high. It’s always wise to review your budget quarterly to make sure you’re maintaining a good cash-flow and not running up debts.
Find Your Workspace
If you’re working solo, you might have chosen to create a home office to work from. This makes sense as it cuts the costs of hiring an office space or paying for coffee after coffee at your local café. However, if you have a bigger team of people or get easily distracted at home, you will need to find a suitable working environment elsewhere. Companies like Clockwise can provide serviced offices, which have flexible contracts and a lot of great amenities like break rooms, meeting rooms, and WiFi. If your business idea isn’t office-based and is something like manufacturing or retail, you will need to find a good workshop/warehouse/retail unit that suits your business needs.
You should have already come up with some marketing strategies for your business plan, and now it’s time to put them into action. Digital marketing is a must – make sure you’re utilizing social media, SEO, content, and reaching out to current and potential customers with email campaigns. Consider trying to get some exposure on podcasts advertisements, radio, print and TV also if that’s in your budget. You can organize these campaigns yourself, and for some start-ups, that’s more cost-effective, but if you can, budget for hiring a marketing agency to do this for you as this will get you the best results.
Starting a business isn’t easy, but it can be a thrilling and incredibly satisfying experience. Having the opportunity to follow your dreams and do something your passionate about for a living is one that shouldn’t be missed; just make sure you’re prepared for each of these important steps to make your start-up business a success.