Have you had a good idea? Have all your friends and family said, “Great, do it!” Are you full of enthusiam and ready to go? STOP! Before you leave your job and rush off with a bit of capital there is lots more you need to do.
1. Market Research – vital before starting any business. You need to check the following:
a) Your competition – in fact, is there any competition? If not, there are two reasons wny not.
i) Your idea is so great no one has thought of it but you.
ii) Your idea just will not work.
b) If there is competition, you need to check them out, see how successful they are and see if there is room in the market for another company.
There are several ways to conduct market research:
Focus Groups – get people in your demographic in a group and ask them questions about your proposed service or product to see how well it will be accepted.
Questionnaires – write a survey ensuring you ask the questions of the right people. Stand in the street and approach people in your demographic. If you are creating a new hairspray for instance it is not good approaching people who clearly don’t use it. Ask what they are using now and why. if they would change product if a better or new one came along and so on.
Social Network – if you are on Facebook or Twitter already, you can introduce your idea and get feedback not just from your friends but your demographic. Investigate this on Facebook. It is also the fastest way to get your product or service known.
2. Finance – also vital before you start. You may have some capital but have you allowed for not being paid for three months which may happen depending whether your invoice for your product or service? Do you need funding if so you and anyway, you need to create a
3. Business Plan – this includes a summary of what your product or service is, your experience and skills that will help to sell it. Any support system you have (family and friends) your sales forecast, cashflow forecast and projected earnings. Creating this is often a real eye-opener especially when your work out your sums. It is surprising how much it can cost to start a business. Have you even thought about insurance, let alone office furniture, or shop fittings, depreciation, fixed assets and more importantly, your wages?
Once you are happy that there is a market out there for your product or service and you have the financial backing you need – go for it!
If you can, start working from home but if you need a shop or an industrial unit choose carefully, location is essential for retail and inexpensive is best for an industrial unit.
Eventually, you may need staff or help with your administration and this is where a Virtual Assistant can be invaluable, only paid for the hours they work, no employee costs, they can provide the support you need while you get on with your business.