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When you’ve been in a job for a while, you can often start imagining how green the grass might be if you were your own boss. It can be demotivating at times to look at our hard work turning into profits for someone else. Sure, you might get paid reasonably well, and you might not hate the company or your job. But for many, the idea that your skills could be better placed serving yourself is enough to make them think about starting their own business.
For others, the motivation might be seeing a gap in the market for a product or service that doesn’t exist, or an opportunity to improve upon already existing ideas. Whatever the reason, thousands of people each year start their own businesses. Could you be one of them?
The first stage is planning what you’re going to do. Research your idea. See who else is doing anything similar and do a SWOT analysis of their business. Working out what others are doing well at can give you a good jumping-off point. Similarly, identifying the cracks in their business model can allow you to think about what you’d do differently to overcome these challenges. Think about what opportunities for growth and development these potential competitors have, and consider how you can take these opportunities yourself if you progress with your plan. Then look at the external threats to them, is the market volatile? Do technological advancements look like they will have a negative effect? Is the location right? What is the consumer perception of the business in question? For every problem you find, think of a few solutions.
By doing this exercise, you will be laying the basis for your ideas. Going into business, you will need to have a strong concept of the products or services that you are offering. You will need to be able to communicate these ideas effectively too. In the first instance, to acquire start-up capital. And secondly, to bring customers on board with your vision.
Create a mission statement that demonstrates what your business aims are
Once you’ve worked out what you intend to offer the world, you will need to work out how you will do this. Are you a retailer, and if so, online or on the high street, or both? Are you offering a service? Where will you see your customers?
Will you be working alone? Or do you need a team?
Working out whether you need premises, and employees will be significant as these are often the most considerable overheads in new business.
Once you’ve ironed these details out, you can register your business. This is usually a relatively straightforward process of determining the type of business, who the directors and shareholders are, and where the company is.
Funding Your Plan
Based on the information you have got so far, you’ll want to start to create a budget for start-up, along with projections for trade for the first year and beyond.
When determining your budget, overestimate. Think of every conceivable thing that you might need to spend out on, from stationery, travel, fixtures, fittings, rent, taxes, stock, contractors, wages. Look at the going rate for each thing and get lots of quotes. Underestimating your budget will come back on you later, as you will fail to secure enough money, or lenders will see the gaps in your planning and won’t issue a loan.
Once you have a budget, projections, and a mission, you can put all of this information together to form a business plan. Using this plan, you can apply for small business loans from providers such as SummitFR.
Another option for raising capital is the crowdfunding route. Using sites such as Kickstarter, you can appeal to lots of smaller investors who may be interested in getting your business idea off the ground. With this type of investment, you’ll need to be somewhat social media savvy to drum up the level of momentum required to raise your full budget. The amount that you ask for needs to be achievable, so don’t go too high. You’ll be able to determine how you reward your investors for their contribution, so offering them something worth their while will motivate them to invest in you.
Once you’ve raised your starting capital, the hard work begins. Whatever business journey you are, expect it to be a struggle, especially at first. But keep going, and given time and effort, you will reap the rewards of being the owner of your own business.