Starting your own business can be challenging. It is also an exciting journey of turning your startup idea into reality. Before you jump right into it, you need to prepare and plan for your startup to become successful.
Are you ready to become an entrepreneur? Here is a checklist to help you start your own business:
Develop a business idea
Every business starts with an idea. What’s yours? To help you come up with one, start with this thought in mind: businesses solve problems.
What problem would you like to help fix? Is there something that you want to do to help make the world a better place?
You can also look at problems that you experience in your everyday life. Maybe you always forget to bring your umbrella during the rainy season. Perhaps you are looking for an easier way to get fresh produce from a farm.
You may also want to consider what you are passionate about. An example is helping other people or teaching children with disabilities. You could also be passionate about helping other people start their own business.
Develop your business idea. If you already have one, try to reassess if it is something that you are passionate about or that you will find fulfillment in.
Get support from your family
Having your family “buy-in” is priceless. Starting up takes time and effort, and entrepreneurs need support to succeed.
One of the primary sources of support is your immediate family. Not only are they potential investors, but your family is also a great source of emotional support. They can also provide valuable insights, skills, and other resources that you may need.
Research your business idea
Now that you have come up with a concept, it is time to learn more about the industry and existing similar businesses. There are different ways to research your business idea.
Consider going to a library. There are a lot of helpful resources available such as market reports.
Check community organizations. They usually offer information without any charges. You will also find events and workshops that can help your research further.
It is easy to look for information online. Use search engines and social media platforms. Almost every business and piece of information is already online.
Do market research
Is there a demand for your idea? Will your business fly? Conducting market research can help you evaluate the concept.
There are different ways to do this. This includes surveys, interviews, focus group discussions, and even social experiments. Here are some questions to guide you in the market research:
- Who will buy your product?
- What is the size of your target market?
- How much are they willing to pay?
- What are their spending habits like?
- What can help you stand out in the marketplace?
Make sure to listen to your potential customers too, and be open to feedback. Market research will also allow you to know your competitors.
Aside from assessing the viability of your venture, this step will tell you what you need to fine-tune. This is very helpful in developing your startup idea even more and making sure that your business will become a success.
Create your business identity or branding
Your startup needs an identity. You have to name your business. Come up with a business name that is as unique as possible. You can create one that also reflects your brand and your purpose.
Next, create a logo or hire a professional graphic designer to help you. Pick a color scheme that will help define your brand even more.
After deciding on the name, think of how you want your business to be perceived. Branding is what will help you stand out from other businesses.
Branding is what will give your startup a “personality”. It will also serve as a guide on how you market your products and communicate with your customers and potential partners.
Write a business plan
While it might be exciting to go straight into making sales and closing deals, don’t skip creating a business plan. It may take time to prepare one but it is worth the effort. It will benefit you in the long run.
The business plan is the foundation of your startup. It will contain important details such as, but not limited to, your vision, mission, structure, timeline, financial projections, competitive analysis, and operations.
This will serve as a guide to your business operations. Having written concrete plans can also help you deal with future challenges.
Additionally, potential investors ask for a business plan to help them decide. Should you decide to apply for a loan, bankers or lenders will want to take a look at your plan.
After doing the numbers and the business plan, you now have identified how much funding you need. Here are some of the most common sources of startup funding:
- Use your personal savings.
- Seek financial support from family members and friends.
- Join crowdfunding platforms wherein you can get financial backers from different people.
- Apply for small business loans.
- With good credit standing, you can also apply for a personal loan.
- Apply for government grants.
- Join startup pitch competitions.
Set up a cashflow tracker
It is important to keep track of where your money goes. Creating a cashflow tracker or an accounting system is extremely helpful in managing your funding.
A cashflow tracker can include details such as cash received from customers, investors, purchases, salaries, taxes, equipment costs, and overhead costs.
You can start by creating a basic tracker. As you start up, what’s important is making sure that the inflows and outflows are accounted for.
Practice your pitch
The business pitch is something you have to know by heart. It is a summary of your business. You never know when an opportunity to talk about your business will come.
You could bump into a potential customer while waiting in line for your coffee or even meet a potential investor while riding an elevator. Having a pitch will allow you to introduce your business.
An effective pitch states the problem that you are trying to solve, the solution that you are offering, who you are, and who is going to benefit from your offer.
Practice your pitch so that you can confidently deliver it to anyone. It will also be easier for you to share your product or service during networking events.
Find a mentor
Business mentoring has a lot of benefits. A mentor can guide you and help you see a different perspective of your startup strengths and areas of improvement. Successful entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg had a mentor. Surveys show that the majority of CEOs received mentorship.
An experienced business mentor is a valuable source of knowledge and network opportunities, especially if you don’t have a formal business background.
Starting a business begins with an idea that aims to solve a problem or need. Executing that idea involves a series of research and planning. Having a checklist to help you start up can help you keep track of important tasks and achieve success.