When thinking about entrepreneurship, people think about long hours, skyrocketing costs and heaps of stress. Add to the mixture the task of high-level decision making and almost everyone will run away from the idea of ever wanting to start their own small business.
However, entrepreneurship is not hard; well, at least not as hard as some people think it is. There are too many would-be entrepreneurs that get stuck too early in the process just because their mindset is not congruent with their work ethic, desires, and business plan. Let’s face it, many people have what it takes to be an entrepreneur: a good idea, creativity, and sufficient start-up capital. What they do lack though, is the determination and the ability to create and follow a business plan. This is where it gets tough: when you have to build – from scratch – an economically viable business plan. There are many ways to do it, but, for starters, look for something as simple as possible. It will help you tremendously along the way and will get you over your first hurdles.
So, if you ever decide to embark on the entrepreneurship roller coaster and be independent, here are the main steps to consider:
Ideas grow deep inside your brain and must be carefully nurtured and developed. You will need to be able to give them legs to walk and an individual identity. Your job, as the creator of the business, is to think about every aspect of it: you’ll have to balance out its positives and negatives, have an answer to any questions, and you will have to be able to present and support your idea in front of a potential investor.
Think about questions like “who is the target market for this product?”, “is there any competition on the market for this product?” or “what is new about your product?” Prepare your answers to these questions, choose the best arguments, bring statistical data to back your claims or provide pre-market research that can support your ideas. This step, when done correctly, can boost your confidence levels and make you feel more trustworthy in the eyes of potential investors or stakeholders.
- The business plan
The business plan is what makes or breaks a great idea. A good product with a bad business plan will most likely fail while a mediocre product backed by an excellent business plan will succeed.
The main parts of a good business plan are: a summary, a description of the company, a market analysis, a product description, the marketing and sales strategy proposed and detailed financial projections. You can also include any other information: graphics, drawings, models or even a working prototype (this is especially important if you want to attract investors). You’ll also need an inventory tracking system, which requires the acquisition of barcodes. Since you are just starting out I recommend going through a vendor such as www.speedybarcodes.com.
- Get the required funds
The amount of money needed for a start-up can vary tremendously. If you plan to create a one-person business, the costs will be minimal, but if you plan to hire people right from the beginning, the costs can skyrocket instantly. The most important thing is to have a plan for possible further growth and expansion, so you can correctly predict your costs (at least for the first year).
Every start-up requires a set of minimal essentials that you must acquire to operate normally. You will need an office space, a workshop, or a storage unit. A desktop computer or a new printer are also important devices that you will need. The good thing is that most products that you buy for the business are tax deductible, so the prices will be a tad lower. If you are not familiar with the costs of starting a business, ask an accountant or a tax attorney for guidance.
- Start the marketing campaign
Launch a brand-awareness campaign as soon as you set up your business. You need to get your product or service known to succeed. Create a website and use the most popular marketing channels now: social media platforms, online advertising, press releases, but also real-life events, like trade shows, conferences or billboards. Simply put, get your product out there and make it as visible as possible.
- Get an accountant to keep the finances in check
As the orders start rolling in, you will have to file multiple financial documents and do much bookkeeping. An accountant or an accountancy firm is what will keep your financial documents in check from now on. Also, you can use bookkeeping software and other financial checking programs to make sure your taxes are done correctly.
- Get ready for expansion
Businesses are meant to expand and grow, so you, as an entrepreneur, need to be prepared to handle this process. Remember to set new goals for your company regularly, new sales targets, motivate your employees and continuously improve your products or services. Think about better ways to connect with your buyers, study your competition and look for investors or other possible funding sources. Keep in touch with your market, attend conventions and try to be the leader in your industry at all times.
Flaviu Mircea is a small business owner who sometimes blogs on the side to help other entrepreneurs overcome their problems and meet with financial success.