These days, it seems like everyone is starting their own business. Entrepreneurial skills have become hugely desirable across every industry, but for many of these savvy go-getters, coming up with a business idea isn’t the hardest part – getting it off the ground is.
So, if you have an idea, what do you do next? Whether you want to start your own law firm or open an ice-cream parlour, here are the four fundamental steps to starting your own business.
Step One: Stocktake
For those who’ve worked in retail, the word ‘stocktake’ will likely send a shiver down their spines. But if you’re looking to start up a business, you’ll need to take stock of a few things. First of all, ask yourself: why do you want to do this?
It doesn’t matter whether you’re starting a business for money, a creative outlet or because you just really love what you do, whatever the answer is – write it down and use it as motivation to keep going when things get rough.
Take stock of your skills, your knowledge and your areas of expertise too, then consider how you’d apply that to your business. Are you selling a service or a product? Is it a part-time or full-time venture? These questions will help you narrow your focus and enable you to produce a well-thought out business plan.
Step Two: Reconnaissance
Once you’ve got your idea, you’ve got to do your homework. Survey the industry to determine the market size. Is there a high demand for your idea? Does it seem like there’s an audience of people who would be interested in it?
No matter what your amazing idea is, there’s not much you can do if there’s no demand for it. So, do your research and decide whether there’s room for you in the market – or if there’s even a market at all. It also pays to have a look at who your competitors are. How do they run their companies? Do they seem successful? How do the customers react to them?
Step Three: Planning
When you’re starting a business, you need a plan as well as passion. Think of your business plan like a roadmap – it will help you get to where you want to go, and if you do it well you won’t take too many detours.
The basics of a business plan should describe an overview of the business, the products and/or services it will provide, the financial plan, your desired demographics, milestones that need to be achieved and a definitive marketing/sales strategy that shows how you intend to achieve it all.
A clever business plan can also be used as part of any pitches you do to potential banks and/or investors, and it can help you keep track of your progress to ensure you’re on the right course.
Step Four: Financing
Unless you’re Richard Branson, it’s likely that you might need a bit of financing from an outside source in order to get your business off the ground. Many small businesses take on personal loans or private financing, while others take an alternative financing route and have their ventures crowdfunded instead.
Whichever financing path you choose, you need to first make sure you’ve got your pitch down-pat. Think of the pitch as a condensed version of your business plan. Regardless of who you’re pitching to, assume you won’t have much time to do it in so make sure you keep it simple, engaging and succinct.
A good pitch should showcase its marketability, its uniqueness and the value it can provide to the investor.
Has something sparked your interest?
Now’s the chance for you to take action and start executing these steps. Over the next few months we’ll be running a competition with an amazing first prize of 1 month free virtual membership with one of Australia’s leading start-up hubs.
Not only that, but we’ll throw our own time in to discuss your idea, and bring some friends along who run successful businesses as well. If you have an idea and need a little help ideating or working towards your MVP then register your interest for our comp here and we’ll flick you the details as soon as we kick off!