So, You Want to Start a Business: First Steps
“If you want to be an entrepreneur, it’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle. It defines you. Forget about vacations, about going home at 6 pm – last thing at night you’ll send emails, first thing in the morning you’ll read emails, and you’ll wake up in the middle of the night. But it’s hugely rewarding as you’re fulfilling something for yourself.”
– Niklas Zennstrom, venture capitalist and co-founder of Skype and Kazaa
Starting a business can be exciting and immensely fulfilling, but it might also be the most challenging thing you ever do in your life. If starting a business is on your books for 2018, here are some practical tips to get you going.
Before you get down to the writing your business plan, take a step back and ask yourself these questions:
- Why do you want to start a business?
- Is the reason worth the investment of time, money and energy that you will have to put in, with no guarantee of success?
- Can you sustain your interest towards this new vocation when the going gets tough?
The answers to these questions will anchor your purpose and drive you to the right direction.
Once you have defined your objectives, think of ideas for your venture. Beyond just the business idea, envision the future landscape your business will be, especially in the present accelerating digital landscape.
Will major technological changes affect your business? Will your products and services be rendered obsolete in years to come?
Discover your competitors and their services. Marketing research is vital especially when your business is in its infancy. A simple but important question you need to address is if there a demand for these services in the first place.
You ought to find a need, and meet it. By discovering customers’ needs, your business will be in better position to fulfil the untapped market potential.
Before releasing your products/services, test them in stages. Such practice is essential in most start-ups these days. This is to ensure any detected flaws can be resolved/adjusted with minimal loss of profit. Let users explore your products/services and take down notes from those interactions. Pay attention to users’ feedback through verbal and body language.
Working out the legal aspects of your business can avoid future problems. Seek a qualified and experienced lawyer to assist you in this area. Here are some of the items that should be resolved as early as possible:
- Business Structure
- Name of business
- Registration of business
- Tax matters
- Permit matters
- Business License
- Banking matters
- Trademarks, copyrights or patents
In our next article, we’ll share some guidelines and tips on writing a business plan. Stay tuned!
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