10 Things You Should Know Before Starting a Business
Interested in starting your own business enterprise and becoming a successful entrepreneur? Do you have the vision and commitment to move forward? Are you prepared to work though both good and bad times? If you answered “yes” to these questions, it might be time for you to explore the idea of becoming a business owner.
Knowing things is obviously as important as implementing them successfully, so make a conscious decision by undertaking a thorough research, then working accordingly to remove occupational hazards. Listen to your mentor and other entrepreneurial veterans so that you can surround yourself with a support team to define your vision more successfully.
1. Do your research
One of the most important things you should know before starting a business is that you will need to conduct proper and thorough research. It is this research which will be a great help in implementing your plans and helping you overcome any potential (and probable) obstacles.
Research can give you great information about the potential market for of your products or services, how to increase your market share, define your target customers, and how to approach your customers in a way that will yield the highest return. Research will you an insight into your customer’s mindset and help you make the right decisions.
2. You need to write a thorough business plan
After research, the next important thing you should know before starting a business is about proper planning. For this, you will need to make an achievable business plan. When you undergo the step-by-step process in creating the plan you will be able to get a better handle on your vision and creativity.
Writing a business plan shows your commitment level towards your desires. It is actually the first thing that any investor or financer is going to ask for. Business plan easily tells about the expertise, understanding, and vision of the entrepreneur and his financial requirements. The purpose of a business plan is to document and develop your brainstorm vision then transform it into a viable strategy and to communicate the idea to others.
3. You should address all of the legal aspects of starting a business before you begin
You will definitely want to know and understand more about the legality of your venture. You can hire a legal team of your company or can take temporary outside help at the onset. Speak to the authority at the local level and find out whether your business entity will require any kind of special license for dealings in that area.
In several cases, it is important to own a license for some products and if you fail to acquire it beforehand your business can be shut down. You should also ask for legal advice on the type of company you will open so that you could gain the maximum advantage. An entrepreneur needs legal advice at every nook and corner from agreements with suppliers, to legal binding conditions. Get good legal counseling and then decide on your plan of action, and be sure to follow all local, state, and federal guidelines.
4. Define your target audience
Business is all about selling your products or services so that you can make profits. Do you know to whom you are going to sell these products and services? Have you identified your target audience and is it receptive to the type of products which you are going to introduce in the consumer market? These are some important questions whose answer you should know before launching your start-up.
Define and then focus on your target audience. Think about creating the best available promotional campaigns to target them diligently. Send out questionnaires for feedback; create social awareness via your website and other social platforms so that you can maintain a direct connection from the onset. Involve your target customers by consulting them and making them feel like a part of a huge campaign.
5. You'll need to plan for financing and funding
Financial funding is one of the major aspects of any business entity and one thing you should know before starting a business is whether you are capable of arranging it to your satisfaction or not. Do you have the required capital for investment purposes in your start-up or will you have to arrange financing?
Friends and family are also alternatives that you can explore, but it is advisable to seek out options like an investor or a loan from a bank so that you can know about all the alternatives at your disposal and then make plans accordingly. Sometimes you can also get a business grant, depending on they type of business your interested in launching. You can find information about grants on the internet. If possible, it is better to start as a small company and then grow gradually, as it will require comparatively less funding and will also involve less risk factor.
6. Understanding the competition can put you ahead right from the start
Healthy competition is good for business. Make a complete and systematic research survey on your competitors. Detailed information about rival companies is what you should know before starting your business. Is there enough market for both your competitors and yourself? How can you establish your position when you have so many existing competitors? These are relevant questions that need to be addressed beforehand.
Research will also help you learn and understand weakness and mistakes made by others in the field. You can side-step them easily and enhance your own chances of success by performing a thorough analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. Focus on the ways and means to create your own space and make your products or services more attractive to the customers. Being a little different – or more distinguishable – from others in the market can give your business a boost!
7. Be picky about your brand and business name
Your brand or business name should be something that triggers instant recognition. Everyone should associate you with it, as this will be your business identity. Give great consideration your business name prior to starting your business as rebranding can sometimes be confusing, painful and most importantly- expensive. So do be thorough, precise and clear. Once you make up your mind, go with it - as it is your vision and who knows better than you???
8. Find an experienced accountant
Another thing you should know before starting a business is that an accountant is a priority that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. After you have written a business plan and your vision and the creative ideas become clear to you, start looking for a reputable accountant. Make sure he/she has considerable experience and that his or her knowledge of accounts is current and correct.
Be sure to choose someone with whom you feel comfortable, as your accountant will become trusted source on whom you can easily rest your faith and ask for feedback. An accountant is a valuable addition to the business, second only to you, so hire one whom you can trust explicitly, has the know-how, and who can steer the company down the right path.
9. Building a solid team and network can save you a lot of frustration
It is simply unrealistic to think you can do each and every business-related task yourself. Yes, it is a startup and you may not have enough finances to hire immediately, but make a list and decide which positions are important and need to be filled immediately and which can wait until your business has grown a bit.
Be clear in your thought process and build your team accordingly. Make a list of your weakness and the area where you might require maximum help. Fill those positions first. Hire people with skills and knowledge so that they can help you in the areas where you need help. To balance you can also hire interns that will reduce your overhead costs to a great extent. Don’t forget to surround yourself, too, with successful business owners and others who will lend support and encouragement to you along the way!
10. Do the work; with NO EXCUSES
The final thing you should know before starting a business is that you must be prepared to make sacrifices. Owning a business is rewarding, but demanding, and asks for everything from you – things like time, money, idea, vision, knowledge and even your personal life, to a great extent. Once you accept the fact that you will need to make sacrifices at the onset, you’ll be prepared to put in the work without finding excuses, when times get a little challenging. Be prepared to experience failures, and when they come – don’t quit! With time, you will be able to gain the temperament and knowledge to create a balance between both professional and personal life. If you have the desire to step out and start a new business, be certain that you’re willing to commit to it and push through the rough patches to make it to the sweet spot of business ownership!
Of course we could add more to our list, but we feel these are some of the top items you should attack before starting your new business. If you pay close and particular attention to each of these items during the planning stages, you should be on your way to building a successful business!