The time is great for entrepreneurs to start a business. Interest rates are low so business borrowing is cheap and lenders are less cautious than they were five years ago, so it’s not quite so tough to secure funding. The economy is growing, albeit not as fast as the government would like, and with a new president about to take office, the future is looking promising. So, if you have a great idea and think you can nurture it into a successful business, read on for some tips.
1. Do You Have What It Takes?
Entrepreneurship is not an easy course to take. Life as an employee means you have set hours, benefits, and when you leave work, you leave it all behind. Running a business requires determination, a strong work ethic, and a lot of support. If you think you are strong enough to succeed, let’s move to the next step.
2. Write a Business Plan
A business plan is your blueprint for how you intend on taking your idea and building it into a successful business. Use your business plan to work through every possible problem and come up with a solution that works. Lenders will ask to see a business plan if you apply for a business loan, so make sure it follows a standard format – you can find free templates online.
3. Do Market Research
You can’t sell a product or service if there is no market out there. Just because you think, your idea is amazing, it is sensible to carry out market research. It is hard to come up with a totally original idea, so if another business sells the same product or service, look at how you can improve upon what’s already out there.
4. Discuss Your Ideas
Run your ideas past family and friends. If they fall about laughing, consider whether your idea really will work. Not all business ideas are workable, so don’t be afraid of ditching your original plan and going back to the drawing board.
5. Find Investment
You will likely need investment, even if it’s just a small amount of cash to buy a computer and rent an office. Use your own savings first, as this is free, but if you need extra capital, polish off your business plan and start looking for a source of funding. This could be your local bank manager, or you might decide to use a crowdfunding website such as Kickstarter.
Don’t overlook the importance of networking. Networking helps you to build relationships within the business community. If you sell B2B this could help you find new customers, but even if you don’t, networking is a useful way of meeting people who could potentially help you at a later date. Look for local networking events for small businesses and entrepreneurs. You will find most to be tremendously supportive and full of useful resources and advice.
7. Build a Brand
Work on building your brand from day one. You can do this in a variety of ways, but social networking is by far the most effective. Set up social media accounts and start creating a buzz about your new business. It’s a useful way of generating interest and ensuring you have customers waiting when you are ready to open your doors to new business.
Now you have the basics in place, it is time to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in. For the next few years, you will need to eat, sleep and breathe your business. It won’t be easy, but with a lot of hard work and a small amount of luck, you can do it!