Before you can start any business, you must create a firm plan of action. You should already have a good idea of what you want to achieve and what your business will offer but now you need to do the maths and figure out what is actually required to start your business.
This 5 point list might not be comprehensive or finely detailed but what it will give you is an idea of what you need to think about in relation to your own business.
The beginning of every business is usually funding and few businesses require absolutely no investment to get set up. If you are very lucky, you might already have a few of the things you need. For example, a writer is likely to already have a laptop but might need a bit of funding to set up a website and start investing in some marketing strategies.
At the most basic level, there are two ways to fund your business: debt finance or equity finance. Debt finance is where you borrow money to start your business and then pay back over a period of time. Equity finance is where you sell part of your business to generate funds which you won’t have to pay back
Most start-up businesses tend to go for debt finance because it may be easier to come by than investors. The main advantage here is that you will still have full control of your business so you will benefit from all the profits but you will also be liable to pay the interest on the loan. When you are looking at financing options, make sure that you weigh all the pros and cons of each option fully and only borrow what you really need. If you find ways to save money, you absolutely should.
The equipment you need depends entirely on the business you intend to run. An artist might need paints and canvases, a builder might need cranes and heavy lifting equipment from the Freo Group, a restaurant would need everything from pots and pans to plates and cutlery.
Choosing the right equipment requires a careful balance between what you can afford and the quality you need to achieve. This is particularly true for manufacturing companies where being able to offer the highest quality to their clients in order to be competitive on the market. Similarly, for some businesses, speed is the most important factor and the fastest equipment will make a huge difference to their ability to make a profit.
When you select your equipment, you need to think about how each piece will affect your bottom line. Every single piece of equipment must add value to your product and if it doesn’t, you should consider finding a cheaper alternative or cutting the process altogether.
Staff or your team
Your team/staff will make your business but deciding when to hire and who to hire is crucial. Hire too early and you will be paying for someone who doesn’t have much to do. Hire too late and you might not have the time to spend on the training you need. Equally, the hiring process itself is quite expensive so you need to make sure that you hire right the first time.
When you hire your first employee, you need to think about what you can afford and which skills you really need. There’s no point in bringing someone on to do work you could be doing yourself when you are drowning in things you don’t understand! You need to make sure that everyone who joins your business brings complementary skills that will benefit everyone.
Creating a diverse team is often the best way to find complementary skills. When you are hiring, try to interview a wide range of applicants, not just the ones who tick every box. Give yourself a chance to find something amazing that you couldn’t have written into a job description.
Your brand is the best way to make your business recognisable to your customers. Branding isn’t just about colors and logos, though, it’s also about creating a tone of voice for your business and ultimately designing the experience and journey you want to take your customers on. Even your business name should tell your customers everything they need to know.
When you design your branding, you need to consider which key messages you need to get across to your target audience but you also need to think about how you want your audience to respond. Before you settle on a particular brand identity, you should definitely consider doing some market research to see how people really respond to your business. You will learn more than you think!
Marketing might sound trivial next to working out financing options or choosing equipment but the reality is that this is the best way to get your business noticed and start generating some much-needed income. You can make a great marketing strategy out of the basics and a great website with lots of relevant content combined with a social media campaign can do a lot. However, for this to work, you need to think in the long term about how you want your business to progress and what you want from your customers.
The better your marketing strategy is, and the more detail you can put into your plan, the better off your business will be. This doesn’t mean that you can’t change your mind or refine your strategy as you go - you definitely should! - but it does mean that each technique you use can be linked to other areas. So, if you make a cool video you can write a blog to go with it, share it on social media and email your mailing list about it.
When you write up your business plan, you will need to think about every single detail for your business. While this list is not a comprehensive step-by-step guide, it will hopefully have sparked the inspiration you need to go out and do your research properly. The more you know going into your business, the more likely you are to proceed. Plan slowly, act fast.
Of course this dives deeper & easier to execute when you have clarified your value proposition. Knowing exactly who your target market is, how you support them and positioning your business in the market place in order to amplify your visibility & ensuring that you’re generating profits asap. If you’re still struggling with this, download the free message clarity playguide down below.