Starting a business might seem all fun and good when the revenues start rolling in and customers come trooping through the door. But to guarantee that happens, you need to ensure you start off properly by putting the right things in place before you even think about your first customer.
Yes, no two businesses are the same, but most start-up owners must go through the same process or guide when looking to open their doors to customers – including you.
If you are on startupguys.net, you probably are already looking to strike out on your own with your “amazing ground-breaking” idea. The following are 10 steps you need to take to start off on the right footing.
1- Do Your Market Research
It’s ultimately foolhardy for you to launch your start-up without studying the market and all your potential competitors. Are there similar startups like yours? If not, why is no one interested in this product/service that has kept you restless for the past few months or years.
Speak to or survey your potential customers, do some desk research using publicly available data. Another great source for data is your competitor’s accounts if publicly available. This phase of launch can be overwhelming, and many entrepreneurs tend to avoid it or gloss over it. That sort of behavior is a recipe for disaster.
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2- Write Your Business Plan
Some business coaches might advice that you register your business before writing your business plan. There are no right or wrong answers to this dilemma. But it’s usually best writing your business plan before you register your business. That way, you can decide what legal structure to register under and the required documentation you might need depending on the business model you have on the plan.
A business plan is the first thing your potential investor will ask of you. Who says you can’t already start seeking funding while you work on registering your business? Writing a business plan also forces you to ask hard and fundamental questions about your “breakthrough idea”, and these help ensure you are not taking a gamble with your time and investors’ funds.
3- Register Your Business and File all Appropriate Documentation
Now, you are officially ready to become a business owner. Depending on the business model that you have on your business plan, a business lawyer can advice you on the legal structure you’ll need to set up. You’ll also need to sort out the various filings and licenses you might be needing.
Registration with the necessary tax authorities is another thing you must take care of. You don’t want the government hounding you or slamming fines on your business during those early days. You also need to consider getting insurance especially if you are a contractor.
4- Raise Financing for your Business
Cashflow is the lifeblood of every business. This statement is especially true during those early days as you try to find your feet and get customers through the door. You can either start-off with funding from your savings and family and friends, or out-rightly seek funding from an angel investor.
The government also usually has grants for small businesses which are worth exploring. You can also sign up on the various crowdfunding websites. These options can take some time to come through, which explains why most entrepreneurs prefer to either seek out investors or start off with their personal funds.
The Bottom Line
Starting a business can be a lifelong journey, depending on your ambition. Ensure you follow all protocols and do the correct research before you think about the potential cash you can make.