Starting a business has never been more viable, it is an undertaking which is heavily supported by our government, especially in light of youth unemployment being at an all-time high. The government are trying to encourage entrepreneurs and Small business owner as much as possible, as demonstrated by the government funded start-up loans scheme, which also provides you with an experienced mentor – you can read more about it via this link. There is an abundance of information on the web that lends itself to assisting budding entrepreneurs, but I am looking to make it simple – basing it on an eclectic mix of personal experience and previous research.
Step 1: Get Inspired
This might seem like a recommendation that is difficult to follow, often people believe that you can’t just ‘get’ inspired, inspiration comes to you right? Wrong.
There are many things you can do to speed up proceedings, it helps to start by eradicating yourself of all fear and resistance, or on the contrary, even embracing it and exploring the areas that evoke this sensation, after all – creativity doesn’t come easy in a restrictive environment. Author Seth Godin, refers to this part of you as a ‘lizard brain’ – this part of your brain hates change and risk, but new ventures are inherently risky it’s the whole nature of the thing.
Many people will contest this, but I actually believe that in order to be creative it helps to dedicate time, in order to do so you may need to take a break from work. You can look at triggering ideas by arranging objects representing products or service s in your area of interest, and think about how they are connected, is there anything missing? You may find yourself finding gaps in the market that you didn’t even know were there.
Step 2: Look at the Plausibility of Your Concept
In order to judge whether your concept is plausible, it is important to throw yourself into market research, really put your idea through its paces. What’s great about market research is that it is free, there is no real risk involved, and it is an integral part of securing yourself a loan. Look at economic trends, patterns and needs as well, is your business idea given the state of the industry?
You don’t necessarily have to undertake all the data collection yourself; there is plenty of secondary data to peruse. Also make sure that you are flexible with your idea, make room for changes that may come with more data.
Step 3: Get Prepared
Much of this step is intertwined with the prior. Using the data you have collected when looking at the plausibility of your idea, put together a business plan. The business plan is what you will be presenting to the bank when you come to them with your business idea. Everything should be completely clear and concise, reinforced with data and diagrams. The most common mistake people make is forgetting that these people are hearing this idea for the first time, whilst it may be clear in your head what it is you are trying to say, it may not be the case for the person you are presenting to. So make your concept clear, establish from the outset exactly what it is you are proposing. My final recommendation is that you do not forget to include the risks or potential problems, whilst you will only want to present the positive data it is important to demonstrate that you have acknowledged the obstacles.
Step 4: Get Funded
This is the step that is one of the most essential, involving much of what was put into place in Step 3. You will have to decide on which financial institution to present to, so look at what services you require and what extras you could make use of. I often opt for banks that I have already established a relationship with as a big part of the banks risk is uncertainty about loan repayment. Furthermore, the process will always be easier if you go with an institution that really demonstrates interest in your business. Primarily though this is all about your plan, make sure that Step 3 is carried out extensively.
Step 5: Get Online
Once you have been given the go ahead, it is time to establish an online presence. This won’t be applicable for every business, but it has become more valuable for small businesses now than ever before. A recent online survey discovered that approximately 66% of small businesses are thinking of increasing spend on online marketing, furthermore 82% of small businesses state that their main source of new business is referrals. Of course, if you are computer illiterate, you can get a designer to create your site for you, my web developer in Cardiff, did a fantastic job of my site for an affordable fee. You can even get people to maintain it if necessary.
Even if you are not interested in e-commerce, a website is a great means of marketing your brand, making yourself accessible and increasing your scope.