Deciding to start your own business can be exciting, overwhelming and terrifying all at the same time. No matter how confident you are in your product, service or business model, you will always encounter new challenges, with no guarantee of success. Many people can feel discouraged when they face numerous (but completely normal) hurdles in the early stages of setting up. However you can easily overcome some of these difficulties by preparing as much as you can, and taking the time to think about some important factors even before you’ve thought of a name!
Is there really a market for your idea?
Whether you plan on offering a product, solution or service, it’s important to ask yourself this question from the outset. Whilst naturally, you will believe you have a great business idea, it is important to try and pick it apart from a critical perspective. Do thorough research into your idea, and try and gage whether there is an existing market, or even anyone else out there offering the same thing.
Who are your customers?
Once you have carried out your research and decided to go forward with your idea, you should think about who your customer really is. This is likely to be a variety of different people, from different walks of life. Figuring this out in the early stages of starting your entrepreneurial journey will help make everything else that follows slightly easier. You should develop typical ‘customer profiles’, which you can then use when planning your branding, business approach and marketing strategies.
How much will you need to invest?
Any start up will require some kind of investment, and while some business may require a lot less funding to begin with than others, it’s important to figure out exactly where you stand financially as early on as possible. Start by making a list of anything you will need to purchase or invest in, from domain names, website and a strong brand, to legal costs and product development. All businesses will encounter unforeseen costs in the early stages, but having as detailed a financial plan as possible can help lessen those financial surprises.
Should you quit your job?
Whilst it may be tempting to hand in your notice and wave your colleagues goodbye, to enable you to focus and work entirely on your new venture, you shouldn’t make this decision quickly. Ask yourself whether it is entirely necessary (and financially viable) to give up your current income, or whether your business is something you can work on around your current job, at least for the first few months. This is a big decision for you to make, but your detailed financial plan should help make this choice a little easier.
Do you really want to run a business?
Whilst the initial stages of inspiration and planning can be exciting, it’s important to think about the difficulties, and risks in owning and running a business. You must consider all elements involved, from complicated process you may not have encountered before such as manufacturing, logistics and shipping, to people management, hiring and firing. Starting a business is more than just a career, and will (at least for the beginning stages) require long hours, late nights, and little financial reward. Figuring out if this is really something you want, and have the passion, drive and time for, is extremely important for the business to succeed.