You have a great business idea, but don’t know how to turn that idea into a reality. Starting an actual business can be exciting, but you need to take practical steps to make it work.
Building Your Business Foundation
Whatever your business idea may be, you have to look at it from a real-world perspective before you jump in. The first step is to look at your idea from the viewpoint of your customers. How are you going to get them excited about your product or service? What problems will your actual business idea solve for them? As a startup, you probably won’t reach a wide audience in the beginning, so the next foundation step is targeting your market. If you take a shotgun approach, chances are you’re not going to reach your customers successfully. But with proper targeting, you can spend your time and money focusing on the ones you know will be interested in your product or service, and in that respect reach a larger percentage of potential customers. Networking is another important part of building your actual business foundation. Get feedback from friends, family, potential business partners and successful entrepreneurs. Their feedback can be invaluable and help you avoid spending time and money on trial and error when you eventually take the plunge and start your business.
Your Business Plan
Once you’ve laid your foundation and have a clear idea of what you need to do to make your actual business grow, your next step should be to come up with a clear and realistic business plan. A complete business plan will include the following:
- Summary and business profile
- Market analysis
- Marketing plan
- Risk management plan
- Operating plan
- Management and personnel plan
- Finance plan
- Action plan
A business plan is essential when looking for investors to pump money into your business, or even taking a small business loan from a financial institution, so it’s important to spend a bit of time perfecting your business plan so it is concise and focuses on all the important areas of the company you’re starting.
Financing Your Business
Money is the fuel your business needs to get off the ground. Your business plan should give you an indication of how much money you need to get off to a good start and how much you need to spend on buying goods or raw materials. Can you self-fund your business? If not, where can you get the funds you need? Some possibilities include:
- A business loan
- Friends and family
- Credit cards
Depending on the scale of your business, you might also look into seed funding from a venture capitalist or angel investors, which is where your business plan comes in. Evaluate your source or sources of financing carefully. A business loan can be helpful, but you need to be confident you can pay the loan back without dipping too much into your profits, which should go back into building your business. Credit cards should also be used sparingly so you don’t accumulate too much debt. Starting a new business and cash flow also go hand in hand. From day one, it is essential that your books are well kept and that your financial information is organized and easily retrievable to present to investors and banks. Every journey to building a business from the ground up is unique, and there is no guarantee of success. With a good foundation, however, you can at least be on your way to turning your idea into a reality and generating profits in the long term.