There are 14 important things you need to do before you start start your own business.
Maybe you have been nursing the desire to start your own business but you do not know how to go about it.
Well, starting your own business need not be a daunting task.
Many people have done it before. You too can do it.
Below are some of the things you need to do to start your own business.
Start your own business: Find Business Idea
Every business starts with a business idea.
Therefore, finding a good business idea is one of the most important tasks you need to perform before you start a new business.
Sources Of Business Ideas
There are many ways you can get a business idea.
For example, you can get business idea by:
- Listening to people when they discuss their problems
- From Industry journals, magazines and newspapers
- The internet
- Through the Social media
- Personal observations
- Recommendations from people
- Radio and Television ads
For example, someone might tell you that he is making good money from fixing cell phones.
Moreover, if you listen actively you can use the opportunity to figure out how you can start a cell phone fixing business.
In other words, you need to be smart to land a viable business idea.
Start your own business: choose A business idea
You should allow your interests, hobbies and experience determine your choice of business idea.
In other words, you should look for business around your interests, skills, training and experience.
For example, you cannot set up a pharmacy if you are not a pharmacist.
Similarly, you cannot start automobile fixing workshop if you have no formal training and practical experience in fixing automobiles.
Furthermore, if you find yourself undecided, you can reach out to successful entrepreneurs to help you reach a decision.
Do Self appraisal
Before you start a new business, you need to evaluate your abilities.
This is necessary because starting a business is not a smooth ride for many people.
It is true that some people are gifted with the uncommon ability to spot viable business opportunities.
The same cannot be said of a lot of people.
However, you need to provide honest answers to the following questions:
- Do I have the skills, interests, experience and the knowledge required to succeed in this business?
- Can I plan and carry my plans through?
- Am I honest in all my dealings with other people?
- Can I take suggestions and criticisms from people in good faith?
- Do I learn from my mistakes?
- Will I be able to stay focused even when things get really tough?
- How much time do I need to devote to running this business?
- Do I have the funds required to get this business up and running?
- How long do I need to stay before the business begins to turn profits?
Most importantly, you should ensure that you have what it takes to be successful in business.
Remember it is good to be successful but it is better to remain successful.
Start your own business: research the business idea
You should research the business idea.
Beyond that, you can interview some people who are doing the same or similar business you have in mind.
For instance, your research efforts should be able to find actionable answers to the following important questions:
- Who are the people in this business?
- Have other people done this business before?
- Did they succeed? If not, what was the reason for their failure?
- Is the industry controlled by the government?
- What is the state of the industry now?
- How will the industry look like in the next 5-10 years?
In other words, you need to ask questions and get answers.
Some of the people in the industry may not be willing to cooperate with you.
However, a good number of them might be willing to offer you some useful advice.
Do Market Research
You need to do proper market research before you start the business.
Do not just start a business you know little or nothing about.
Therefore, you need to find answers to the following questions:
- Who will be my target customers?
- Are they men, women, boys or girls?
- Where do they hang out?
- Do the potential customers know this product?
- How will I get them to know my products?
- How often will they buy?
- What marketing strategies am I going to use to sell to customers?
- Why will people buy from me, instead of another?
- What is the competition like?
- What do I need to do differently to beat my competitors?
- How long will it take before the business starts to make profits?
- Will there be sufficient demand for this product to keep me in business?
- Do I need any special licenses or permits to do this business?
- How can I find reliable suppliers?
Therefore, you should find quality answers to the above questions because you need to make important decision involving money.
Start your own business: raise business capital
You need to determine how much money you will need to start the business that you have chosen.
For example, you need to decide whether you:
- Will finance the business with your savings
- Get financial support from family and friends
- Will look out for some government assisted programs you can take advantage of.
However, you should not borrow money to start a business.
The reason is that interest charges on borrowed money can hurt your business before it even has any chance of succeeding.
Therefore, it is highly recommended that you:
- start your business with your funds
- set some money aside to meet your personal expenses for a least the first six months before your business turns a profit.
- should not mix your personal expenses with your business expenses.
- Be a good manager of money.
Start your own business: write a business plan
Before you start a business, you will need to write a business plan.
Simply put, your business plan is your road map.
It can state:
- Your aims and objectives
- The business model
- Succession plan in case of death, resignation, transfers and so on
- Marketing plan
- financial projections
The nature of your business will determine whether or not you will need to.
For example, professionals, such as doctors, lawyers engineers do not need to write a business plan.
However, if you are looking at seeking funding from the bank in the future, you will need to write a detailed business plan
In other words, your business plan should be tailored to meet the needs of your business.
Choose business location
Next, you need to choose a good location for your small business.
Remember that if you choose a good location, you can:
- Get many customers, including foot traffic
- make more sales and profits
- plus your business will grow
- Moreover, You should locate your small business where it will be easy and convenient found r customers to find and do business with you.
Therefore, a good business location is key to the success of your small business.
Start your own business: register a business name
Before you start your business, you might need to register your business name with the Corporate Affairs Commission.
Whether you will need to register a business name will depend on the nature and size of your business.
The best part is that when you register your small business name, it will be easy for you to:
- open a business bank account in the name of your business.
- Do business with government and companies.
- make it a bit easier for to get funding from the bank and other lenders.
More importantly, registering your business name will give your business more credibility.
And people will be much more confident to do business with you.
Get Relevant Licenses/Permits
To start your small business, you need to find out if the business is regulated by government.
For example, you will need a license to operate a pharmacy or hospital
If your business falls within the category of regulated businesses, you should ensure that you comply with all the relevant laws.
Choose accounting system
Irrespective of the nature and size of your small business, you need to keep basic accounting records.
Accounting records will help you to track your income and expenses.
At least, at the end of the year, you can call in an accountant to prepare annual financial statements for your business.
Start your own business: build a website
Moreover, you may need to build a website.
This is because many people now do business online.
A website will enable you to showcase your products or services.
Consequently, some of your potential customers will like to visit your website to see your products or services before they do business with you.
However, you should ensure that your website is:
- mobile friendly
- fast and reliable
Most importantly, you will need to create some social media accounts:
- and Pinterest are good candidates.
Launch your own business
When you start your business, you need to let the world know that you are now in business.
In other words, you should advertise and promote your business so that potential customers will know:
- where you are
- how they can find you
- what you do or sell
- give you referrals and recommendations
Do not just seat down in the comfort of your shop waiting for customers to come and buy from you.
Furthermore, you should work on your business, not in your business.
The following tips will help you to get your business off the ground and running:
- Use word of mouth to tell as many people about your business.
- Create flyers, business cards and brochures
- Insert your contact addresses in all your outgoing advert materials
- Start networking with people and businesses in your industry
- Ask for referrals.
- Register your presence on social media
- Place ads on local media outfits, such as radio and television
- Read articles in business journals and magazines
- attend seminars, workshops and conferences
In conclusion, you should try to work hard so that you can succeed
Remember that if you succeed you will take all the benefits. But if you fail, you will certainly be on your own. Nobody will tell you sorry.
By Samuel Ijenhi
B. Sc. Accounting [University of Benin]
Benin City, Nigeria.