So you’ve got your brilliant business idea but you’re not sure what your next steps should be.
Turning your dream into a tangible reality can seem a daunting task, but taking one step at a time, you could soon be on your way to running your own successful business.
1. Do your research
Your first step is making sure your idea is actually feasible and worthwhile. You need to ask yourself some honest questions before you find yourself dodging unavoidable pitfalls later down the road. Firstly, ask yourself whether you think there’s actually a market for your business idea. You can answer this accurately through undertaking extensive market research, finding out as much information as possible about your potential customers. Too many ideas have been ruined due to a lack of research so ask yourself questions such as: How many potential customers would you have? What type of people are they? How do they behave? What drives their purchasing decisions?
Focus groups are the best way to conduct valuable primary research. From these you can clearly measure prospective customers’ thoughts and attitude to your offerings. You ideally want a mixture of primary and secondary data and you can easily find a lot of secondary data online. Industry reports and statistics are accessible online as well as industry sales figures and economic trends.
Prepare yourself for potentially needing to change your business concept or idea as a result of this customer feedback and market research.
2. Examine the different business structures
It’s important you read up on the different legal business structures as you need to adopt and decide on the best option for your business. It’s rare that new businesses will start their life as a limited company so you will most likely have to register as a sole trader or, alternatively, find yourself a business partner.
3. Create a business plan
Don’t start your business without a plan. Creating a detailed, well-thought out business plan will help your focus as well as helping to secure and financial support should you need it. Your business plan is your blueprint for the overall running of the business and will provide you will a series of benchmarks to check your progress against. Make sure to include your business objectives, personal goals and your businesses values and missions statements.
If you’re like most small businesses, you won’t have created a business plan before. Key considerations you should therefore take into account are:
• Concise language
• Clearly defined sections which satisfy their objectives
• Facts supported by relevant documentation
• Reasonable conclusions drawn from facts
• Facts supported by graphs and charts