Heres How To Start-Up …
“First of all, starting up a business is not a child’s play. It is not a game where you play to lose, win or play chances, it is a serious “business” just as the name” ~Harmony Attise – Small business consultant & CEO, Commec Ghana.
I know most of you may have read about how to start a business with no or little money and about how to start a business in some few hours and the list goes on. Let us be realistic here, can we?
“Who goes to the market without money and comes back with foods stuff or groceries? Starting a business is more like an investment than playing the magician and making things grow out of nowhere. What you put in is what you get out. Investments sometimes or most often comes with risks and most importantly with costs. Nobody starts a “serious” business with absolutely no cash or with very little cash.
So I guess you know by now if you ready to start a business or not?
Now let’s just understand what a business / business idea is all about.
WHAT IS A BUSINESS IDEA?
Every business that aims to be successful starts with a compelling business idea. These ideas have to solve a need; satisfy a target needs
It must be innovative
Be specific and clear
Be target focused and achieve the objectives of its establishment; make profit.
“A business idea is a plan or concept which can be used to make money. It is focused on a product or service that can be offered for money. Every successful business started as an idea.
Do your business idea meet the characteristics above?
WHEN IS A BUSINESS IDEA VIABLE OR FEASIBLE?
Every business idea no matter how excellent it is has no commercial value. Until the idea is well developed, gone through a feasibility study, and how the idea can solve the target’s problems, it will initially have no value.
A business idea becomes viable or feasible when It’s markets, thus consumer targets accepts it, believes in it, has value for them and meets the characteristics stated above.
As discussed in previous articles, what you are offering, (products or services) have to meet market competition. It must stand out, be unique and differentiate itself from the competition.
Also note that, to evaluate your business ideas, it should meet investors perspectives. Investors always have these few things in mind;
Market (competition, availability and demography)
Profits and more profits.
HOW TO START-UP YOUR BUSINESS IDEA(s)
Create an idea
You know what a business idea is now and whether or not yours is viable.
I remember sharing my ideas with friends to know what they thought about it. One friend asked if I could explain to him as I would to a ten (10) years old child. I laughed but today, it made much sense than when I was starting up.
Your business idea should be easy to explain to someone to understand. What you intend to develop (product or service) should be in plain and simple language. If your idea can not easily be understood by anyone and why they would need to buy your idea (product or service), then your idea isn’t fully in shape for business. It will be difficult to attract customers, investors and beat the competition to startup successfully.
So talk to a few honest friends about your business ideas. If they are able to understand and would buy your idea (product or service), then your idea is ready for the next step.
Define Target prospects for your idea
Now we have a clear, well defined idea that can attract anyone; from investors to customers.
Which group of people is this idea targeted at? Which group of people need this idea to solve their problems?
Defining your target customers simply means identifying the specific characteristics of the people or businesses who are most likely to buy your product or service (idea). Common characteristics to classify customers (targets) includes:
occupation or industry
ethnic group etc.
Develop a customer profile with these characteristics of your most promising potential customers. (The people likely to buy your products or services). Most often startups are afraid to define their markets with the fear of not having enough customers, so they end up with unnecessarily broad markets, difficult to reach with their marketing strategies and then spends more cash to reach.
Conduct a Market Research
Market research is the process of discovering certain common characteristics and preferences of your customers, who your competition is, and what current and future trends can affect your (future) business.
Although starting up a new business is an exciting venture, it’s important not to rush into starting up or launching without a proper market investigation; thus knowing exactly where you fit in. To be successful with your product or service, you need to research about the market to give you a competitive advantage.
Conducting a research also helps you determine the viability of your business idea.
Knowledge is good! Researching about your industry and other markets that have direct or indirect influence on your business ideas (product or service) gives you a depth knowledge and expertise of your market and other businesses. When you have heads up on information regarding your competitors, customers behaviors, market conditions, etc you plan better for success.
Develop your idea (BUSINESS PLAN)
This written guide will help you map out how you will start and run your business successfully.
Your business objectives
Among many others are what you extensively look at when developing your business plan.
You have everything shaping up good now, after having developed your ideas into a winning business plan. The big question is; do you have the capital or funds to make the idea happen?
Do you have sufficient funding to kick start and keep a steady growth from a phase to another? Financial evaluation is important to give your ideas life. This would help you not to get stuck in the middle of the journey of building that big successful business. You do not want to invest all you have only to fold up when things are looking promising.
Register your idea (Business Registration)
There are a number of steps that can be taken in order to set up your business and to prevent your ideas from being used by someone else. The registration of your business is vital and allows you to participate in the formal economy. Your registration involves knowing how you want your business to be run. (Partnership, sole proprietorship, limited liability, enterprise, etc) including your tax registration, permits and business name – your business identity.
Build a team
No matter how compelling, excellent and innovative your idea is, the backbone or foundation of your startup basically rests on your team being able to execute your ideas. In previous articles (find related articles via blog) I stated that startup’s do not need to hire in a hurry in other to save costs. There are other ways to strategically build a team to assist in building the dream business. But how can you be certain that you’ve assembled the right team to achieve that? (We would look at that in another article)
How do you now introduce your final idea (product or service) to the world or market?
You need a plan to do that.
Develop a remarkable launch strategy that will sail your idea deep into the markets. Note that, how you launch out can either be a disaster for doom or set you scaling up for growth and acceptance by customers.
Growth plan (Sustainability plan)
Hurray! Someone is about building a multimillion business.
Now growing the real business begins. How do you sustain growth and existence?
How do you keep being unique and relevant?
What are the strategies, your cash projections plans and the big decisions makings?
This is where the real journey begins.