Starting your own business is exciting, but can also be a pretty daunting prospect. For many people, starting a business will be the biggest risk they will ever take in their life. Knowing this, there are steps anyone can take to maximise a venture and get the foundations of their new business in place. W have collated ten pieces of must-have advice over a two part series to help guide your budding business. Enjoy!
Hatch a plan.
Before embarking upon a new business venture, a solid business plan is essential. If you have no previous experience operating a business, start by enrolling yourself in a basic small business course. Not doing so is akin to going skydiving without a parachute.
Past this, there are plenty of helpful resources available to aid in the development of a business plan. Googling “how to make a business plan” and you’ll be inundated with results and templates. Just remember that the financial figures are the heart of any business plan, so make sure that you get your figures right and be honest with your expenses and projected sales. The more you learn through devising and revising the plan, the more likely your business will get off to a great start.
Also, many countries and states have government-funded small business development assistance programs and grants. It pays to be thorough at the planning stage and see what assistance you can get for your concept that may help it succeed that little bit faster.
Essentials and budgeting.
As mentioned previously, within your business plan you need to figure out exactly what you will need to launch your business. Create a list of everything; equipment, people, real estate, services, storage space, marketing materials, required paperwork, stationary; anything you can possibly think of that you will need to do, attain and pay for to get up and running. Do not forget to budget into the business a wage for yourself. Many business owners start by not paying themselves to try and save costs: this only leads to messy accounting in the end when owners constantly take money out of the business account to pay for groceries.
Cost everything liberally (don’t use conservative figures) and add a safe buffer for inevitable unexpected expenses. It’s not uncommon to budget at least double the amount you originally expect that you will need. Once your business essentials are budgeted you’ll likely need a loan to pay for everything. As with anything, shop around for the best deal you can get and discuss the options you may have with several bank managers. The quicker you’re able to pay it off, the sooner your business will turn a profit.
Aim to scale up.
Don’t neglect to plan for the future growth of your business. Integrate stages of growth into your business plan and prepare for what you’ll need to do to scale and grow comfortably. Aim to stage your businesses growth so it develops seamlessly with your business plan to try and avoid major upheaval. It will make your life a lot easier in the long term and will save you a lot of money along the way by minimising large changes needed purely to accommodate growth. Key factors to take into consideration is the equipment you will use, the location and capacity of your businesses office, and the infrastructure services (internet, electricity, etc) that you set up to operate.
Government regulations: read up.
Make sure that every step you take when planning and operating your business complies with any applicable government business regulations. Regulations will differ between countries, states and local communities, so you’ll need to consult local government resources to find out exactly what your business will need to adhere to – usually someone from within the local council will be able to list any general pieces of legislation you need to know. Better still, a good business advisor will be able to provide you with any information you’ll need, pinpoint any specifics that might apply, and can explain anything you don’t understand.
Making sure everything you do strictly complies with regulations may be an arduous process, but it’s preferable to get it right the first time. If you don’t, you may find yourself spending endless amounts of money and time fixing things and also dealing with red tape and bureaucrats later down the track.
The image your business portrays is how you will be perceived by your potential customers so carefully consider the type of image you want to project. It is astonishing how many businesses fail in this department, as they feel that cost cutting is somehow OK when looking at the methods in which you attract your audience. Examples of poorly designed logos, signs, marketing materials and websites seem to be abundant, so stand out from your competitors and ensure you nail your logo and subsequent branding. Be sure that you have a uniform feel to all your marketing materials and that your brand and business isn’t associated with poor quality advertising as it will be seen by customers and competitors alike, and taken note of.
Check out Part 2 of the Getting Started series.