5 Things To Consider If You Want To Start A Business

If you’re thinking about starting a business you need to have a clear plan and strategy on how you will achieve your objectives. All too often new entrepreneurs jump in head first without any real plan on what they are going to sell, how they will sell it and who they will sell it to. Here are the 5 basic steps to starting a business in 2016.

1. Get Online

First, if you’re starting a business, you need to get that business on the internet. The growth in the number of people buying online is growing each year. Over 3 billion people has access to the internet and more people are coming online everyday. These are all potential customers. When your business is online you can be selling your products and services 24/7, 365 days a year.

2. Get Some Start Up Capital

Although the cost of starting a business in 2016 on the internet is considerably lower than starting a traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ business, you do still need some money upfront to start an online business. The main reason that most businesses fail is because of the lack of capital. Have a plan in place to allow for financial resources whether it’s from sales, external investors or your own personal funds.

3. Establish Your Unique Selling Proposition

What will make your business unique? The internet is big marketplace and when starting a business in 2016 you need to establish an unique selling proposition (USP) for your product or service. Why should people buy from you, rather than somebody else? If you don’t know, how can you expect your potential customer to know?

4. Know Your Ideal Customer

No business can sell everything to everyone. You need to be clear on who your ideal customer is so that you can create your marketing messages to appeal directly to them. What are their needs, wants, worries, problems or desires? How can your products or services help them?

5. Implement A Proven Business Model

Use a proven business model that will work in your market. If you don’t have one, look at your competitors and see what they are doing. Get a business mentor who can show you how to build your business and move a prospect into a customer. Very often you can learn a lot from people who have been before you in your chosen industry. They can help you to avoid the pitfalls and make your journey to success easier and quicker.

How to Start a Business – The First Steps in Starting a Business

The internet has made starting a business from the comfort of your own home more possible now than ever before. Although there is nothing easy about being an entrepreneur, it is common knowledge that the outcome of starting a venture is very rewarding. The most difficult part is actually getting started. Some people have business ideas that never leave their notebook. Others just want to own a business but don’t know where to start. Here are some steps to take in your early planning stages.

1. What are you good at? Not referring to what you would like to do but what are you good at now? Do people like your pumpkin pie? Are you a really great accountant? Do you have team building skills that are out of this world? Sometimes we take our own talents for granted because we use them everyday. However, talents can turn into marketable skills that people will pay for.

2. How do you intend to fund your business? Nothing in the world is free. It takes money to make money. Starting a business will need investing. Don’t let having a small amount of capital or not having any capital at all stop you from moving forward. You will invest lots of time when there is not that much money. Having large amount of money to invest still requires time in due diligence to make sure you are hiring the right team to get the job done.

3. Dead set on becoming an entrepreneur but don’t think you’re good enough at anything? Everyone has a skill set, you just haven’t identified yours yet. Think about things that you like and consider start a home based business that offers these things. Home based businesses, also known as direct sales or network marketing, link personal development and growth directly with success. With a small investment, usually less than $500, you can have a ready-made business and become profitable in days. The hugely successful in direct sales usually venture off and start businesses of their own after discovering their hidden talents, learned how to run a business, and now have earned enough money to invest in themselves. Direct sales is a great place to start.

Becoming an entrepreneur is not a journey for the faint at heart. It all starts with an idea, just like anything else. Figure out what your skill set is and focus on turning something that you’re good at into a business. Decide how you can invest into your business. Be it time or money, you will have to invest something. If you do not think you have any business ideas, start with a network marketing company to jump-start your business juices.

The Hidden Costs: 5 Key Considerations When Starting a Business

So, you want to start a business and are wondering where to begin and what it will cost… most would advise that you start with putting together a business plan, and I don’t contest that… you should, but it’s essential that you’re aware that most business plans, including all the research and financials that they include, do not give you an overall picture of what your start-up costs will be. This article gives an overview of the ways to determine, realistically, what the costs involved in setting up a business will be.

A solid plan? Probably not! A well-formed, flexibly applied plan? Absolutely!

It’s true that the usual manner in which businesses start up, is through an opportunity being identified, determining the ways in which this opportunity can be milked for all it’s worth, (carefully explained in the business plan), and figuring out how much capital is required in order to build the business as outlined in the above-mentioned business plan.

Whilst this is ‘the usual’ and can often work, there is one flaw with this model… It is all developed on the premise that the business will work out right, and as planned, the first time! The reality, is that it is exceptionally rare that everything goes exactly to plan, and most often, even if it does, it’s not first time around.

Often, between the time that a business plan is written, and the time comes to implement, it’s hardly worth the paper it’s written on. Harsh, but true.

In order to more accurately, and relevantly determine your start-up costs, it is essential that you reflectively review assumptions held within the business plan, and be prepared to adapt toward a more flexible approach. Now by no means am I advocating that you don’t need a business plan… I think they are immensely helpful for allowing us to consider as many of the elements required in starting and growing a business as possible… but the plan is only as good as the action you take, and to get the greatest return on action, having plans that are relevant and based on the most current context is key.

Part of your plan should always be to revise the plan… You may have to change things repeatedly as you learn more, determine the impact of what you’ve learned in your business, and then add it to the plan accordingly.

Consider Scaling Down and Pilots

I know what it’s like… you have a fantastic business idea, you see the potential, you see how great it can be, and you want to put in all you can to make that vision a reality. While this is the only way to go for some business concepts which are pretty much, ‘Go Big, or Go Home,’ this isn’t always the case.

Where it’s possible, consider the option of scaling down, and testing the concept. This will allow for you to start up, while saving money, learning from the pilot and being able to action changes, and raise more funds based on proof of concept. This approach not only reduces start-up costs but provides valuable insight around the business, in real terms. It may not generate much profit, but it will offer a wealth of verified information that will help you to determine the next steps… If you decide to proceed with expansion, it is a great basis for second stage funding.

Consider Realistic Timelines and Pricing

Part of calculating your start-up costs will involve figuring out your initial cash flow. Without having actually operated the business this can be tricky. It’s also not uncommon to fall into the trap of under-pricing products and services in order to stand a better chance of competing, and to ‘tempt’ in more business. Be aware that you don’t necessarily need to do this. If you do, raising prices to the market standard could become difficult at a later stage, and you’ll have to do a lot more work in order to break even. My advice- recognise your worth, and price it accordingly.

Consider a Realistic Time-frame for Starting-up

Time is always potential money, and when you’re starting in business, this is true even more. If you’re going to have fixed costs like property leases, if improvements or modifications are required prior to opening this impacts on both time, and money (quite directly). These additional costs add to your start-up costs, but also add to the time before you can start earning. Don’t fall into the trap of under-estimating when you’ll be ready to trade, and build in a good time cushion before you ‘need’ to see funds coming in from business activities. Failure to do so could result in a significant amount of stress, and in some instances, can even result in a business shutting down before it’s even had the chance to take off, simply because there wasn’t enough time allowed to give it a chance to get going.

Consider the Cost of Money

Many entrepreneurs who have a great idea that they believe strongly in, will make the decision to finance the business themselves. At times, this can be at great personal cost, using the credit on credit cards or loans, and tapping into equity from homes etc. While for some smaller ventures the impact may be negligible, for larger ventures, self-financing should be considered exceptionally carefully before committing to this option. If funds are in abundance and potential delays, changes, etc. will have little impact and will be offset by the return, however long it may take… then go for it! If this is not the case, and any delays and progress are not going to plan will cause a great deal of personal and financial strain that could jeopardise business success anyway, then definitely consider other options.

To Conclude…

As you can tell, starting a business does not begin and end with a business plan, but goes beyond that to wider considerations. This article lists some of these.