Starting A Business: How Do You Actually Start?
Starting your own business can seem like a group trend. For those that have never even considered starting their own business before, it can definitely seem that way. It feels like there are secrets that you must first know, acquire knowledge from a wise old man and be lucky enough to inherit a family business to get the best footing. None of these are the case, as beginning your own business is much easier than you might think. However before you even lay one real or cyber brick down, you need to do a few things in your mind and on paper. A lot of planning is involved as of course you can imagine. So many things can go wrong in the first year that you would rather wait a couple years before you officially open for business. You have to have an idea that will either be a product or a service. You have to really have the heart and will to really go through with it. In other words you must believe in what you’re doing. Getting your financial house in order is next, as nothing materializes out of thin air. Then comes the structure, ethos and goals. Then it starts to really get technical.
Do your research
Each one of these words need to be said out loud, do your research! Maybe you have an idea for a new can opener and believe product is going to evolve every kitchen in the land. Pump your brakes, and consider the following. Is there a rival company that has already made what you have? If not, what is so special about your product that even with the similarities with another product, consumers would buy yours? What would be the competition to your product? What kind of customer would you be looking for? And, how will your business fit the current climate and cultural aspects of society?
This is what is called the validation process. If you can’t honestly give yourself an answer worthwhile to all of these questions, you need to think again. If at some point in the future you are looking for investors, potential investors will ask you all of these questions anyway. A vague or nonsensical answer will give you a shake of the head and a swift ‘no thanks’ will follow. But you can’t rely on your own answers anyway, you have to back up what you’re saying. Read reports from focus groups and think tanks that are relevant to the industry you hope to operate in. Use their statistics, facts and figures to give your motives hard proof i.e. validation.
Your financing options
In order to make money, you must first use money. Financing your business is going to be the first and biggest hurdle you have to jump over. There are many different ways you can get the amount of funding your require to set the wheels in motion. Usually, a business should not officially open unless it has at least 3 years worth of capital ready and waiting in the coffers. So, you need to make a financial plan first to see how much money you need to set up and run your business for year one. Although year two and three will be cheaper by default, it’s good to use year one as the benchmark. You never know when you’ll need that extra capital.
The simplest way is to ask the government. Government grants for small businesses are a common way to get some funding. Although it’s not going to be a large amount, it can be one of the quickest ways to acquire readily usable capital. It’s not just governments that hand out business grants, various entities from NASA, investment firms, private hedge funds, and specific small business grant companies offer this kind of financing. Another option is crowdfunding. You’d be surprised how much money you can accumulate from a good marketing campaign that shows the benefits of your business to the wider public. Strangers can donate as little as $1 to your cause while others might give $10,000. The old but gold way is to find investors that are looking to invest in the next Apple or Microsoft.
Show strength and promise
Speaking of investment, you have to show strength of character to even begin your own business. It’s more than likely that when you speak with investors, your knowledge will be tested. Having strength of character isn’t enough on it’s own, you must show promise. Promise comes in the way of business acumen, skills, talent and management skills. The technical skills required to run a business are so often the focal point of weakness for entrepreneurs and first time small business owners. How could you know how to smoothly run a business when you have never done so before? At this point, education really comes in handy. But don’t sigh and groan in frustration just yet. Yes you might have an idea for a business, you have a plan ready and maybe even the funding, but hold your horses. Don’t bolt out of the gate too soon if you can’t make it to the finish line.
Take your time and do a business management course like Aston Online’s msc programme. Done 100% online, it will teach you how to create and read financial reports. You’ll learn how to develop your marketing strategies, pricing tactics as well as understanding the principles of product innovation. The technical skills of being able to plan ahead, problem solve in a quick efficient manner and be a cautious yet bold decision-maker are vital to longevity. That’s exactly what investors, clients and partners look for in a young business, i.e. whether or not it can survive and thrive.
Starting a business on your own is one of the most financially brave things you will ever do. You’re putting your money where your mouth is and believing in something and standing behind it. However, make sure you have done a validation process of your overall business idea. Use online sources and degrees to help you better understand how the technical side of business works so you can have a greater chance of continued success.