Are you thinking about setting up your own startup ? Do you have an idea for a new startup but are unsure about how to proceed? Are you tired and fed-up working at an office like a robot? I am positive that at least one answer is “YES”. Let’s talk about the planning and creating a successful small business that you always dreamt of. Many people are looking at ways in which they can become self-employed, as they have had enough of being dictated to and fed up with long and frustrating hours of work. It is natural for anyone to want the freedom of being their own boss and to be able to choose their own hours of work.
Leaving a full time career can be quite a scary prospect, however. The security of having a regular income and other benefits such as a pension and a share save scheme can seem hard to let go. I am sure many people, whether rightly or wrongly, have opted to stick with this security and to merely keep their business plan as an idea, which they never see through or use. Other people are willing and happy to take the risk and see it as a way of getting out of the rat race.
Naming a Business
When you have an idea for a new business, you then need to think of a name to call it. I would keep this name quite short, memorable, catchy and brandade and positive as it makes it easier to remember for people. It obviously needs to have something to do with the business sector you are entering. Naming your startup is one of the most important things. Naming a company or product correctly will save you a lot of money and energy as it becomes easier to promote.
Importance of Business Plan
Other essential things you need to figure out or think of are capital requirement, team members, area of operation and initial marketing. Figuring out these can be quite daunting, but is essential. For all of these, you need to prepare a solid business plan and document everything you can think of. Having a notebook or a Google Drive folder to write down your ideas can be a good idea because we never know when a new idea or information pops out in our mind.
Once you are aware of how much money you need, you then have to find it. You may have enough yourself via savings or a redundancy payout, however most people are not in this position. If you do not have enough money, you could try to raise money via the family, by seeking a partner or by taking a personal loan. There is also the option of a startup business loan if you have collateral and a solid business plan.
Execution is equally important
Next is to actually start a business. Many startups wait for a perfect time to start and get struck on the planning part. You need to keep in mind that execution is equally important. So if you have a minimal viable product or service, start right on. A bit of “fake it until you make it” might work as well if you are not in a sensitive or highly regulated business.
Marketing and Promotion
The next stage is to market your product or service. Again, don’t wait until your product or service is matured. There are many ways of doing this, including:
- Social media (cheap and effective)
- Ad in online newspaper
- Direct marketing in the form of leaflets
- An advert in the yellow pages
- Exhibitions, trade fairs
- Word of mouth promotion
I would advise finding out where other people from your industry advertise, as they will have tried and tested many of the above options. You can start small and scale up your marketing and promotion once you find the most suitable and cost-effective medium for promotion.
You then need to work out how much to charge for your product or service. For better pricing, you can research the price charged by your immediate competitors and charge a bit lower initially. I always keep these charges fairly low at the outset in order to attract as many people as I can and to get some income and reach breakeven point. I then hope that word of mouth will take over, and the idea is that after a few months I will be in a position to increase my fees.
Prepare for tough times
It is also important to realize that we will make mistakes along the way. When this happens, we need to think positive and not to beat ourselves up. It is an experience we can learn from. There will be a lot of tough time and difficult situations. You need to have a strong mindset and be prepared to face all sort of challenges. Always have belief in yourself and your plan. At times any business will go through a rough period, this is when we need to be strong. In my opinion, the more work we put in, the more rewards we are likely to obtain. This process will forge you as a strong person even if your venture don’t succeed as you have thought. So, keep that in mind and keep moving forward.
Self-discipline and time management
Self-discipline is one of the keys to your success. Being able to choose your own hours of work may seem like a dream, but it can prove to be many peoples’ downfall. We have to ensure that we work the required amount of hours. It is far too easy to stay in bed for that extra hour or to start a new series. These things are fine once you are established, but this is a long way off at this stage. At the early stage, meticulous planning and management of time is a must. You shall be prepared to give up a lot of leisure activities and pour your time and energy into the business.