If you are someone who has always had a head for ideas, then starting your own business might be the way to go. More and more people are considering it as a way of making a decent amount of money, and it’s not too surprising. After all, if you do it right, it could mean you are set up for life. If it doesn’t quite go to plan, it is likely that you will learn a great deal from the process which you can then use for any further projects you might have. When it comes to actually setting up the business, there is a lot to consider. Often, people come to business expecting it to be a walk in the park. In many ways, it is as simple or as complex as you choose to make it. However, most people do find that it ends up being far more complex than they had originally assumed. If you find this is the case, don’t let it put you off. After all, going through those initial hurdles is just all part of the fun. Once you are set up and running, chances are you will be glad you did it. With that in mind, let’s take a look now at our step-by-step guide to starting up a business.
All businesses start with a spark, an idea about what the business is about. A lot of the time, this spark will be based on an idea for a product or service. This is how the majority of businesses really begin. More often than not, the budding business owner has a great idea for something that they think the world needs. This can either be something entirely new, or something that already exists done in a new way. You might not think that this could be a lucrative way to do business, but you would be surprised. Companies like Hampton Creek have proved time and again that it is more than enough to get a business booming. Get to the LA Times for the story on that one. In the meantime, suffice to say that as long as you have an idea which you think has originality, you are probably good to go. However, you don’t always know yourself whether something is a good idea or not. With that in mind, be sure to test it out first. Even if you just ask your friends and family what they think, that is better than keeping it all to yourself. The last thing you want is to find out that you were somewhat out on a limb.
Once you are certain that you have a strong idea for your business, you are ready to begin the real work. The first thing to say here is that this first stage is absolutely essential to the success of your business. Often, business owners get a little too excited about their potential venture, and end up rushing this first stage as a result. In truth, doing so only spells disaster for your business. The planning stage is, in many ways, the most important part of the entire journey. It is here that you decide exactly how you business will operate. In your business plan, you need to include as many details as you possibly can. For example, you need to have your structure laid out plain and simple. You need to have your budget defined to the last penny, including everything that you think you will need to spend. Not only that, but you should know where the money is going to come from. You should also make sure that you have a projection for the next five years at least. The more your business plan lays out, the better. It is well worth spending a decent amount of time on this, as it will hedge you against future misfortune.
We mentioned that one of the major parts of the business plan is to lay out the structure of the business. But how are you supposed to know what structure your business should take? For those who are entirely new to the world of business, this part of the process can seem a little daunting. That is entirely fair, as it is something which is incredibly confusing if you have never approached it before. The truth is, there are many different kinds of business structure. Which one you choose depends on what kind of business you will be carrying out. It is important to bear in mind that the kind of structure you choose has legal and tax implications. As such, it is not the kind of decision which can be rushed. The most basic, and most common, type of structure is known as sole proprietorship. This means that you alone own the company and are in charge of its assets. If you are going into business with someone else, then you will need to choose a different structure. A corporation is a complex, larger structure if you have more capital behind you. Choose your structure well, as it has a huge effect on the way you do business.
It is a good idea, at this stage, to consider licensing your brand and your business. Licensing has many distinct advantages which unlicensed brands do not experience. When you license your business, you are essentially signing up for a strategic business tool. This tool allows you to profit from your own intellectual property. This can be a useful thing indeed, particularly in the early days of having a business. If you are gaining even just a little extra capital this way, it means that you have more that you can then pump back into the business. I’m sure you can see how this can very quickly create a virtuous cycle. Licensing in this way is not essential by any means. However, I would highly recommend it for any starting business.
Do You Need Help?
Now is the time to consider whether or not you need any help from others. Depending on the type of business you are starting, and what kind of structure it will take, your answer will vary. For some people, they might find that they do not need anyone else on board to help them do the job of looking after the business. Such people are likely to have businesses in spare rooms or the like. If that is the nature of your business, then you probably do not need to get help from any outside sources. If you are thinking of something on a bigger scale than that, then it is possible that you will need to start thinking about hiring employees. Depending on the size of the operation, you might only need to hire a couple. Or, you might be looking for an entire team. Regardless of numbers, you should be sure to take great care when it comes to hiring people. Above all else, ensure that you prioritise those qualities which you think will help your business succeed. Ultimately, this is more important than experience. People who are passionate about what you are doing with your business are the ones you want to look out for. They are likely to be able to weather the storm when anything goes wrong. As such, they tend to make much more loyal employees to have onboard. The people you hire says a lot about your business, so take care at this essential stage.
Do You Need An Office?
This question will likely be answered satisfactorily by the last one. Knowing whether or not you need an office is an important part of this journey. Before you decide fully, make sure that you are certain with your answer. After all, the last thing you want is to find that you have made a mistake with a decision of this magnitude. If you do decide on having an office, then take care choosing the right one. You ideally want a space which is slightly larger than necessary. That way, you can grow into it if your business takes off in the way that you hope. What’s more, look for somewhere which is relatively central to your local area. Not only does this make things easier for your staff. It also means that the public see your building. You would be surprised at what a difference this can make to your brand perception overall.
Now that you are practically all set up, it is time to start thinking about marketing. You should start marketing your products at this early stage, so as to get a bit of a head start in the marketplace. If you start marketing now, then you will have already drummed up some interest in your business when it comes to actually selling your product. This is much more effective than marketing at the same time as releasing the product. When it comes to marketing, be sure to carry out some decent market research first. That way, you can ensure that you are looking to the right people.