Starting a business is many peoples dream. It is one of those things that from the outside in looks amazing but is it for everyone and is it all it is cracked up to be?
We talked to many people about their experiences of starting a business and came up with a quick 10 questions you need to answer as a check list to work out if it is for you.
If I build a business, they will come
- There is an old saying “build it and they will come” however in reality this is not strictly true when starting a business. It takes much more than an idea and a business to make a living. Don’t just believe that if you love it others will. Investigate and interrogate if there are enough people with money who are in enough pain to pay for what you do.
Am I entering a growing market
- Is the market for what you do growing or is what you do disruptive enough to take the market? Having the internet at our fingertips gives as wealth of information and data. Look for it, read it and digest it to know where you can go to grow.
What does my competition look like
- What is the competition like for your business? It always amazes me when you see a new coffee shop open when you can see 3 other coffee shops from the front door. I never understand why you would not go and find a space less crowded. It is important that your market is not too crowded for you to shine above the rest and get sales.
What are the cost of starting a business
- What are the costs associated with your product? Have you got a full understanding of your costs and made sure that you are aware of anything that might cause extra cost? If you need a premises, business rates are always one that can hit hard as every area is different and it is often an unknown. Does what you are selling need after sales or service – is that easy to provide? Do you need protections, insurance, patents etc as these are all costs. If you are employing people exactly what are the costs in terms of salaries, tax, pensions etc.
Who will I need to recruit?
- Do you need to recruit a team? What is the market like for staff, what can you afford. How do you feel about being let down and starting again? This part is one of the hardest areas of starting up a business. You will never employ anyone as passionate and dedicated as you. People may not be what you thought, they may let you down, leave or you may have to ask them to leave. Are you ready and strong enough for this. What is your back up plan if you can’t find the right team or when you are let down at the last minute.
Structure a good business plan when starting a business
- Have you developed a structured business plan? Anyone can forecast sales, it is often what you wish for rather than what you get. Put all the costs in and work out what you need rather than what you want. Then sensitise
- this – what happens if sales ore down by 20%, what happens if costs are up by 20%. How will your business perform when things are not going to plan. What will you do about this and can you survive these kinds of business shifts.
The buck starts and stops with you
- When you are in it on your own, the buck stops with you. In every part from sales, accounts, HR it is all you at the beginning. Do you have the stamina and perseverance to do all this and make it through. Contributing factors aside, most start ups fail because they just give up and run out of steam. You will hit set backs and rejections a lot – can you handle it and keep going. It is so much easier to just earn a wage from someone else – you only earn a wage if what you do pays off. Can you handle the truth?
Start with the Why
- Why are you wanting to start a business? If it is because you are fed up of your job, overworked and stressed then it maybe is not the solution. The best entrepreneurs are people who are successful in their job but feel unsatisfied or bored. The grass is rarely greener at the beginning. It is better not to give up the day job until you have some revenue from your new venture.
Hope that these questions have left you excited and not down hearted. It is so much better to makes sure that you have frightened yourself a bit and come back still wanting. It will work if you have lots of perseverance and are open and to change and adapt what you are doing to make a success.
What if.. it all work out?
All of this and most things you read giving advice about starting a business will get you to look at the “what ifs” in a negative way. What if, sales are down, what if costs are up and many other what ifs in a negative way. The most important thing is actually to look at “what if” it all goes well, and it is a success. In your planning stage at the end of every day take time to visualise what it looks like when this works out as you planned if not better. As Stephen Covey taught us many years ago – begin with the end on mind.
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