Starting up a business anywhere in the world is quite challenging, especially for people who have never had an experience of any sort. The major challenge experienced by a business start-up could range from crafting an idea to developing that idea, raising funds, and many more. It is however worthy to note that it is not impossible to begin at all. For an aspiring entrepreneur, there are a number of things you might want to consider or take into consideration before you begin.
1. Craft The Idea For Starting Up A Business
This is a period of intense reflection and in-depth research to help coin or initiate the idea. This phase includes lots of questions and consultations because you have to find out what needs exist within the environment you intend to establish your business, and you will also have to attempt to find out if there are businesses similar to the one(s) you intend to set up.
You would also need to carry out a short survey which attempts to make findings of the needs of people within the location, as it may relate to your interests and passion. This is to enable you to structure an idea that is within your capabilities, as well as within the yearnings of your targeted audience. Crafting an idea that aligns with your interest(s) is essential because it keeps you pushing harder even at moments when you are struggling to build a clientele and they do not seem to be forthcoming.
Consider A SWOT Analysis
Remember that after your findings are made, you need to carry out a SWOT analysis; and for those who are not conversant with the term, a SWOT analysis is an internal or personal examination about:
The Strengths you possess as an entrepreneur (this may include your soft and hard skills and your competencies) – this is to be upheld and developed because it can help you thrive in your sphere of business
Your Weaknesses, which may deter your success in the scheme of things within your field of business (these may include areas such as temperament or perhaps you may have soft spots for the opposite gender which could be capitalized on by opportunistic competitors or just enemies in disguise) – this is to be checked and covered up by all possible means;
The Opportunities that abound for you, i.e, the things around or in the environment within which you intend to start up that could be to your advantage, this could include the climate of the environment – for example, you want to set up an ice cream business, a hot climate condition would be a good opportunity, the hospitality, the literacy level (which could work in both ways – say your business has an educational outlook, a predominantly illiterate population could be a good opportunity, a friendly population can also be a great advantage to any business, and finally,
The Threats that are posed to your intended business and could hamper its growth – the examples in ‘Opportunities’ can also apply here.
2. Develop Your Crafted Idea
At this point, it is expected that you are done with the surveys and consultations about your idea, and in fact, you are done with your SWOT analysis. You will then have to expand on the idea, considering the outcomes of your considerations, and reduce your scope to the set of individuals you desire to reach out to with your business. Are they children, teenagers, or adults? Are they workers, students, or unemployed? Perhaps, they are wealthy people, average people, or poor people.
It is important to build the idea and attempt to cover administrative loopholes that may exist by the pre-existence of your idea as well; in essence, you may develop a strategy for tracking staff input and commitment by adopting a biometric scanning on arrival, and or before exiting for a days schedule for example. Another instance could be a detailed documentation strategy for both staff and customers. Perhaps, an idea to motivate staff by adding incentives to the extra efforts they putting into adding customers to your business.
Read Between The Lines
Developing a business idea is often overlooked by many start-ups, and this has been a major setback for the business; merely coining an idea isn’t sufficient to drive it into success. In the development phase of your idea, you get to initiate the dos and the don’ts of your business and it helps you gather the stamina needed to strive even amidst challenges that may keep reoccurring.
It is also the period when you package the outlook of your product with your competitors in mind. You will have to make your brand unique and make your prospective clientele have a reason to patronize your brand rather than your competitors. For example, your aim is to start up a vanilla cupcakes business, and you realized that you have someone with a similar business within the same environment, you could decide to add up an extra ingredient, say like ginger, to make a ginger vanilla cupcake. There you have a new recipe exclusively founded by you.
3. Get A Business Name For Your Business
Your business needs to have a unique name by which it should be addressed or identified. It is just like the case is for every human being. Having a name sets your business apart and makes it easier for clients to find. Before getting your name active, it is important to carry out a business name availability search with your country’s corporate regulatory body.
Do not make the mistake of attempting to start the business before finding a name. The business name is as important as the business itself. Hence, you must treat it that way.
After searching for a name, carry out a name reservation. That is to say, you should book the name. That way, no one can use the name you have selected.
You can also get a business name generator to help you create a name for starting up a business
You would be able to create a brand, tailored in the light of your business name. Again, creation of a logo and a website would be patterened after the name you are able to generate for your business. A catchy business name would be able to play a vital role in attracting prospective clients for your business
4. Pen Down A Business Plan
A business plan is like a road map to achieving the goal of your business. You can refer to it as an implementation strategy for your business. Your business plan should contain your vision statement, mission statement, SWOT analysis, competitor(s’) analysis, budget analysis, income source, payback strategy, expenditure plan, staff schedule (where applicable), and a time-frame when you plan to achieve the course of your business
In starting up a business, your business plan helps sponsors or lenders to know whether you know what you want for a business. As a matter of fact, writing a business plan boosts your confidence about your business path.
5. Get Financed for Starting Up A Business
This is a crucial part of your business because you are selling either a product or service. It implies that you have to buy the commodities you will have to sell out. Again, you have to rent a space where you will function as a business. Your services may require electricity bills, water bills, telecommunication bills, and other items you may use to deliver your services.
In starting up a business, you need financial capital in order for it to thrive and become invaluable. For many businesses, their financial capital base is what propels them above other similar ventures. This is not to say that low finance cannot result in highly resourceful outcomes. It simply means that the efforts one with low funding will put into a business will be higher than one with high finance.
To access funds for your business, consider the
Four (4) Basic Sources of Finance For Your Business Start-Up
- Business Loan: A business loan is capital obtained for the purpose of establishing or expanding a business that must be paid back (most times with an interest). A business loan can be obtained from a bank, or from a financial lending institution. An individual may also issue out loans for businesses even though it is not statutorily backed up.
- Business Grant: A business grant is a capital given or received, mostly by government agencies, non-profit organizations, or individual philanthropists for the purpose of establishing or expanding a business. A grant is not expected to be paid back. Since they are free, grants are usually difficult to access
- Business Partnership: A situation where an opportunity is given to individuals, groups, and organizations to fund a business and expect returns at certain agreed periods can be regarded as a partnership. Another term to look at it as is an investment. Contributions are made in terms of finance while labor is provided by the finder.
- Crowd Sourcing: This is a situation where an individual mobilizes friends and acquaintances, or even members of the public to make freewill donations in order to fund the business. Crowd Sourcing or CrowdFunding is however not a dependable way to funding a business because trust issues are always a challenge
Note however that obtaining loans to start up a business could have its downside. For example, you may have to take a longer period to begin to maximize profits because you might also need to service your loan. Your business stands a risk of being folded up if loans are not paid off. Notwithstanding, getting loans could also keep you on your toes in running the business. It also prompts you to keep proper records of your financial inflow and outflow.
6. Set Up Your Location For Starting Up Your Business
It is expected that before getting to this point, you have figured out where to site your business. Setting up implies setting the ball rolling for your business in the location you have designated. This may include painting, furnishing, electricity, plumbing, and so on if it is rented space. It could also mean putting up a new structure from scratch, depending on what you desire and what your budget can afford.
A business location is simply the place where an individual, group, or organization decides to site its business. It is crucial to have a business location after considering the needs within the environment. Or even the budget you are working with because locations determine the cost of rent, transportation, accessibility, and so on.
Your location is where everything about your business takes place. Except if you are an online business, which makes everything about your business happen online. An appealing environment keeps your customers happy and always eager to come back.
Siting entertainment gadgets in your business location is not a bad idea. For instance, a television set or perhaps a sound system to warm the environment. Or maybe free WiFi connectivity. This could be an advantage to your business as it spices up your package.
7. Get Registered
This is an important milestone for any business. It is not enough to have a business name. It is also important to give your business name legal backing and this can be ensured when your business is registered as a corporate entity. This means that your business needs to be registered in the government’s database as a taxable body.
Business registration is carried out by the state to give the business a face. This reduces the fear of fraudulent activities because the business can be tracked easily. Moreso, registering your business enables you to access grants and loans for your business. Again, registering our business helps secure its identity. This is because no one else can legally bear the same name as yours.
In starting up a business, registration does not allay the existence of tax bodies. You will still have to get registered with your state’s local tax authority. In fact, registering your business qualifies it to pay tax.
8. Advertise Your Business
Advertising your business is crucial to your business’s growth. It is what brings traffic to your business and sells you out to the world.
Advertising is a communication method that is established by an organization or a business, to announce its products and services to prospective customers. This is no philosophical definition, it only intends to make it relatable. Advertising helps you drive sales for your business. In fact, it lets people in on your existence, as well as the products you offer.
Means of Advertising Your Business
Print Advertising: This implies that your targetted audience gets to read or see your advert in a hard copy printed document, either in newspapers, magazines, journals, and the likes. The targetted individuals will have to get a hold of the document to be able to see your advert. This type of advertising may have a national reach, however, the audience may not be large.
Broadcast Advertising: This is a form of advertising where your advert is given to the audience via ‘on air’ means. This mostly through Television and Radio. The advert is aired in voice, still photo slides, and or motion picture for the audience. Before the advent of the internet, this had been the most popular means and most effective as well.
Online or Digital Advertising: This means of adertising involves putting up adverts on the internet. In most cases, it is targetted at particular websites and social media sites. Online or Digital Advertising is now the most popular means of advertising, and one with the widest coverage, because the only limitation to it is lack of access to the internet.
Many broadcast stations have also taken their broadcast to the internet because of its scope. Newspaper publication as well as magazines and journals have also been taken up to the internet because of how far its reach can be.
You can choose to put your business on google my business or yahoo bing to help inform clients about your products and services. This is a way of making people know what you offer and what they stand to get.
A Few More Tips
For your business to thrive, it is most importantly up to you. Many business start-ups are made or marred because of the attitude put in by people who founded them. Most large and succeeding corporations started quite small. Today, they have a story to tell. There lots of resources to depend on in starting up your business. They can be found both in hard copies in book stores or libraries or on the internet and e-books. You should subject yourself to finding such relevant resources and studying them.
You could also pay to attend business classes either virtual or live. It is another effective way to find yourself climbing the ladder of success in your business journey.
Another useful resource could be to seek the services of a professional business consultant who could give you a step-by-step guide on starting up a business. They could also serve as business mentors for you. Mentors are very resourceful in helping you grow a business start-up.
If your business is a service giver, for example, you can decide to start off by offering voluntary services to the first set of customers who come to patronize. After all, who does not like freebies? It is a way of getting your business registered in their heads.