So you’ve been thinking about starting your own business? It’s a big step, but it can be an incredibly rewarding one. In this article I’ll walk you through how to start a successful business – from the ground up!
Ask Yourself if You’re Ready
Starting a business is tough and not for everyone ask yourself if you’re ready for the hard work, long hours and high risk associated with starting your own business. Consider your finances, are you financially ready to start a business full time or would it be more practical to do it as a side-hustle?
Find a Problem to Solve
Finding a problem people are willing to pay to solve is the most important step in starting a successful business. In other words, you need to find something people are willing to buy – and then work hard on delivering it as well as possible.
Clarify your target customers
Once you have your problem to solve the next step is identifying the people with that problem. This is called your target customer group. It’s important to be as specific and narrow about this segment of customers as possible, so you can tailor the rest of your business plan and marketing accordingly.
Validate your product idea
To make sure your idea is worth pursuing, you need to validate it. Talk to both customers and experts in the industry and finding out their thoughts on the idea and how to make it better.
Build Your Solution
This step involves taking that problem and building a solution for it – or creating something people will find valuable enough that they are willing to pay. Don’t take too long on this step to start with – it’s best to validate your ideas with a prototype as soon as possible. You’ll get more valuable feedback from discussions with your target customers that may prompt changes you haven’t even thought of – so do it early.
Test Your Solution
Once you’ve validated that there is a market for the problem and solution, this step involves getting feedback from people in order to improve your product or service before taking on too much risk with large investments.
Get legal and accounting advice
Before you go all in, get legal and accounting advice. You need to know how your business will be structured, what type of organisation it will be, what is best tax wise etc. Most of these are best with professional accountancy advice tailored to your circumstances. There may even be extra tax reliefs that you qualify for such as Research and development grants that you wouldn’t think to apply for.
Focus on the pricing
One of the things new businesses struggle with is pricing. The price needs to be competitive but also profitable. There are few short cuts for pricing, it is a balancing act and you may need some outside help or advice on how best to do this.
Consider your funding options.
Starting a business costs money, and often this is one of the reasons people give up. You need to work out how much funding you will need and try not spend more than you have, but also be aware that there are other ways of getting finance such as crowdfunding or applying for an equity stake in your business.
Create a business plan
There is no need for it to be complicated, just a document that outlines your objectives and how you plan on achieving them.
Make sure there is no room for doubt.
Do not leave any unanswered questions about the business or details of its future plans – this will lead to confusion later down the line. This will also come in useful if you go for any funding or approach investors , as you will be able to answer their questions more easily.
If you are not sure where to start there are many business plan templates available online.
Research and learn
Read up on what other people have done, such as how they were successful or failed in similar ventures so that you can avoid the same mistakes. This is also a good way of learning from others’ successes – if it worked for them then there’s a chance it will work for you too.
Perfect Your Elevator Pitch
An elevator pitch is a brief summary of your business that is easy for someone to understand when they hear it. This will be useful in lots of different scenarios, such as pitching the idea to investors or potential partners. It should be brief and quickly convey the key points about your business without going in to too much details.
If you can make it intriguing, then people will want to know more and ask follow up questions. Make it about them rather than about you. What sounds better – “i am a chartered accountant in coventry” or “i help businesses in coventry grow and succeed”?
Have a Great Investor Pitch Deck
An investor pitch deck is how you pitch your idea to investors. It is a visual representation of how your business will grow, and it needs to be persuasive enough that they want to invest in you. If you are going for investment then this is a great way to go about it.
Think of your investor pitch deck as a roadmap for how you plan on growing your business, and how investors can get their money back with interest eventually.
Enjoy the journey
It’s important to remember that business takes time, and there is no such thing as overnight success. The secret is consistency – a few small successes will eventually lead you on the path to your ultimate goal of running an empire. Be patient and enjoy the journey; it brings its own rewards!