Starting a business can be one of the most exciting, and challenging times of your life. From an idea that you thought about before bed, can quickly turn into a world of business plans, late nights, financing, marketing and so much more. Naturally this process from idea to reality can be quite overwhelming.
To help make this transition a little easier, you will find below some important questions to ask yourself before and during the early stages of establishing your business. Some of your answers to these questions may highlight the plan needs a little more work or alternatively may provide the encouragement you need to just go for it!
- Will my idea work in reality?
Before you progress full steam ahead it is important to consider if your idea is actually a good one! An idea can be great, but will it work in the real world? Start with a little research on your chosen field, have a look at your competitors and scope out potential customers. This can provide some guidance of where you may need to do a little more behind the scenes work before launching.
SWOT analysis’ can be so helpful, identify your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats to your business idea.
- What will make my business stand out from the others?
In other words, what’s your special ingredient that will differentiate you from your competitors. What will you offer to give you this competitive edge? Identify your USP (Unique Selling Proposition), this could be appealing to a niche market, a business promise, i.e. to deliver the same day, or anything else that sets you apart from the rest.
- What will my support network look like?
Regardless of what kind of business you intend on starting, it is important to consider who around you, you can turn to if you need to. You may need some advice, some support, or someone to completely distract you from the business and provide that escapism when you need it. The aim is to surround yourself with trusted and reliable individuals who can offer assistance at every turn as your business develops.
- How much money will I need?
As we all know, money makes the world go round, the same goes for start-ups. Unexpected costs arising is almost guaranteed so it is important to account for as many expenses as possible ahead of time so you can plan accordingly. Deciding just how much money you need to start your business will depend on the individual business and its nature. A costing plan should account for expenses including but not limited to,
- Equipment costs & Maintenance
- Licensing and Insurances
- Office Space, Warehouse/Shop/Storage Costs
- Marketing costs
- Who is going to fund my start up?
Now we aren’t talking mum and dad here, you’ll need to seriously consider how you’re going to access funding as some start-ups will need a lot more financial backing than you have lying around in a piggy bank. Depending on your business type and requirements, business funding could come from a lender such as a bank, an investor or personal savings.
- When should I quit my job?
Starting a new business can take a lot of legwork, late nights and complete focus but it normally takes a significant financial investment aswell. With this in mind, as keen as you may be are to walk out of your current job, it can provide some form of stability and regular income until you are ready to take step. Your current employment can act as a financial buffer and fallback if things dont go quite as according to plan or are slower to get going as you’d have liked.
- What will my business structure be?
Think about how you plan to set up your business and what other factors ie tax implications may have on your business. For example, will you be a limited company or will you be a sole trader? Deciding on the business structure that best suits your start up depends on what it will do and how you plan to run it. If you’re unsure about which route to take it can be helpful to talk to your accountant for their suggestion and also through advice on the Government website.
- Where will I base my business?
Will your business need retail premises, will it run online, will I need a storage unit for stock? Finding the right space to call your start up home is one of the most important steps in setting up your business. Whether you’re looking for office space or a high street store, you’ll want to make sure you choose a location where you’re well connected to your target audience and potential customers.
Hopefully these steps have provided some advice and guidance into the world of starting up your business. No one will ever have all the answers before creating their business, a large majority of success comes from the spirit and support from the creator to make it happen, through the good and the bad.