The obvious tasks, such as naming the company and designing a logo, are well-known, but what about the less publicised but equally important steps?
The workload can quickly pile up and quite quickly too! We have compiled a list of 5 things that you should do before you start your business that will help you to transform the lightbulb moment into a real trading entity destined for success!
1. Research, research, and more research.
As obvious as it may seem, you would be surprised at the number of people that start a business without any real plan or research conducted.
Research does not necessarily mean sitting in a library type setting for weeks on end, it can but it can equally be talking to potential customers and competitors, others that operate within the same industry as well as reading relevant articles and books.
Assess the market before opening your doors. Understand the industry you wish to enter, as well as its major players and your future competitors.
Those that are well informed about the industry, competition and the overall market risk and opportunities will find themselves much better positioned to adapt to change should they be required to do so.
2. Know your strengths and be comfortable with your weaknesses!
Whether you have the most life-changing product or an app that has taken the world by storm, it is very important to be able to identify your core strengths and, in my opinion, even more important to identify and accept the things that you are simply not very good at.
This can often be misconstrued as ‘weaknesses’ but as a matter of a fact, if you waste less time trying to do the things that you are not efficient at or the tasks that you really do not enjoy doing, you can spend more time doing the things that only you can provide for the company.
Outsourcing is a growing business activity and with the internet at our fingertips, it is very affordable to access a skillset that can have huge benefits on your business without employing them or pulling your hair out!
You can try to improve these skills as you go along but rather than trying to do everything at the start, outsource where it makes sense to do so.
3. Network + (Time + Effort) = net worth.
Every year, there are hundreds of thousands of new start-up companies formed globally, and if you are one of these start-up companies, you should be telling your story and networking with your industry.
Founders of small start-ups will often leverage opportunities that they might not otherwise be aware of by going out there and networking with the right people.
Networking gives entrepreneurs a chance to build confidence in potential customers and market themselves in a specific way whilst also creating brand awareness for their business.
For best results when networking, you should be able to build a relationship with potentially interested parties and sustain it to a point that it rewards both people involved.
Knowing how to use networking effectively will save you time, effort, and stress, making it a valuable tool for your professional growth. For example, a networking event attended by 50 people could result in 10 more introductions to potential customers who would not have known about your product if you did not attend and speak to 20 people about it!
4. Write it & Plan it
An effective business plan does not need to be something that takes weeks and weeks to prepare but at the very minimum, your new start-up deserves a written plan of action that outlines goals and plans. It is worth noting that using a business plan can help you to improve your business idea, as well as set goals and track your progress.
Ideally, the business plan should be time-specific, and you should reference it regularly.
Every business plan should also include the below detail, regardless of the industry you are trying to enter.
Completing a business plan will not only give you a strong understanding of the competitive landscape and industry but it will also help you to articulate your value proposition, unique selling point and undoubtedly help at networking events when communicating with others about your business. Your business plan can evolve over time and some say, it is never a finished document, that being said, it should always be started!
5. Ask for help!
Even if a company is on the right track, unforeseen problems and opportunities for development and change will arise at any time.
For long-term stability and growth, it is important to address these issues and opportunities. You should not be afraid to seek help as a small business owner, in fact, it is recommended.
Whether this help comes in the form of an accountant, the local enterprise office, family, friends or even choosing a business mentor that can offer consultancy.
Engaging with a business mentor will ensure that you are being held to account by someone who has experience in the area and the business is making the right moves at the right time.
There are a number of free resources available online and from Government funded bodies that reward and emphasise entrepreneurship. Help does not always have to be an expense, but when it is, make sure it is a cost-effective activity for the business. Asking for help could be the difference between the company receiving a Government funded grant that you were unaware of and the company closing due to a lack of cash-flow.