10 things you should know before you start your own business
21st OF September 2012
Thinking of turning that great idea into a business? For that little spark to burst into a mighty flame, first, you need to do your homework before embarking on your great entrepreneurial endeavor. Here’s 10 things you need to know before you start your own business…
By Katie Martlew
1. Your drive to succeed
Just because you have a brilliant idea, it doesn’t mean instant success. Drive and desire to succeed will help you stay motivated when faced with any disappointments along the way. Without it, enthusiasm may wane when faced with setbacks, and your idea may never come to fruition. With enough passion, drive, hard work and resilience, the sky’s the limit.
2. Find your niche
Before you open a business, it’s imperative you identify your niche. You need to determine which community/market you wish to target, and be sure to suss out the competition. There’s no use attempting to compete with other well-established, successful players while in the early stages of your business, so try to target a niche with little competition.
3. Knowledge is power
So, you’ve got this great idea–but what if others aren’t actually interested in your product or service? Before you open a business, you need to do your research and ensure your product or service has potential buyers/customers. Before spending a cent–spend a considerable amount of time researching everything you can–from your business’ potential viability, to any possible roadblocks, and all financial expenses.
4. Do your sums
Figure out exactly how much money you’ll need. Most businesses fail due to lack of funds. After you figure out your sums, add 30% to the total amount for an ‘emergency fund’ to cover unforeseen expenses.
5. Start saving
You should have enough savings to sustain your for at least two years. Having a part time job or other source of steady income will help in the initial years of your new business.
6. Identify your role in the business
Clearly identify what role you’d like to play in the business (unless of course your biz is a one woman/man show). The hiring of employees involves both financial and legal nuances, thus in the initial phases, it’s best to keep things simple with less employees (and less investment).
The legalities of the business exceed the hiring of new employees. Before starting your business, consult with a legal professional, who can identify all the legalities involved in your area of business. A lawyer will be able to safeguard your business by drawing up contracts and other legal documents you may need.
8. Practice makes perfect
Understanding you probably won’t get it right on your first try will better equip you for the mental resources you need on your entrepreneurial journey. Unless you are copying a proven business model, you can’t possibly determine exactly who your customers are, and what they’ll pay for, on research alone. Sometimes, after careful consideration, research and thought, we need to roll up our sleeves, and just do it. If at first you don’t succeed, make the necessary changes–and try, try again!
9. Talk the talk, walk the walk
It’s important when launching any new business to develop some serious sales skills. Being able to communicate with a range of different people is key to marketing your business effectively. Learning how to sell, network, market your business and deliver a killer pitch is imperative to business success. Push yourself, be confident and know your brand. If you truly believe in your brand, others will too!
10. Prepare a checklist
Make a list of everything you need to get started. This will give you a better idea of what you need, where you’re at, and how long it’ll take to make your business happen. Also jot down realistic goals, with timeframes on when you’d like to achieve them. Having it all down on paper will help get the business ball rolling.
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