Every successful business begins with just an idea. “Ideas are the beginning point of all fortunes,” according to Napoleon Hill, author of “Think and Grow Rich.”
The thought of starting your own business can be both a thrilling and frightening experience. Transforming your ideas to business requires in-depth planning and strategy. Primarily, the idea must seek to address a need or render a solution targeted at potential beneficiaries or consumers. This idea should be realistic enough to be translated into a product or service.
Below are six basic elements to consider in no particular order to get your business up and running:
- Conduct a needs assessment: Irrespective of the increasing number of businesses, products and services, there will always be a gap between the current conditions and desired conditions of clients or consumers. It is important to identify your idea`s market-fit. This can be achieved through a systematic process of determining and addressing needs and gaps of the market. The need can be a desire to improve current performance, quality, explore untapped or suppressed demand or to correct a deficiency of goods and services.
- Determining the most appropriate vehicle –Having decided what to serve or produce for the market, it is important to determine the most appropriate vehicle to deliver the service or product. This vehicle will situate the idea in an appropriate legal form or structure for implementation.The vehicle could be in the form of a Sole Proprietorship, Partnership, Limited Liability Company, Corporation, Nonprofit or Cooperative.
- Register the business: The following are key considerations when registering a business:
- Selecting a name and logo for your business. The right name can be an effective advertising tool that can help your customers understand what your business does and which market you are targeting
- Selecting your business address and physical location, and
- Obtaining the necessary license or permit to operate depending on the type of business
- Get a business plan: A business plan is vital to the success of any business. Think of it as the road map to the future of your business. The most effective business plans are dynamic documents that evolve as your business grows and changes. Your plan should reflect the current reality of your business, the environment in which it will operate, and your present and future goals. Business owners do not necessarily have to write the business plan themselves but may engage the services of business consultants to help them. A business plan will essentially enable you to:
- Turn your ideas into a viable business model
- Secure financing from lenders and investors, and
- Identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats
- Sourcing financing: For entrepreneurs with deep pockets, the only obstacle to starting a business is coming up with a viable idea. But many aspiring business owners have the opposite problem — the idea is there, but the capital is not. Jumping the initial startup financing hurdle is made even more difficult by the fact that “brand-new” entrepreneurs are often not considered for business loans. Banks have always been a tough source to secure loans for start-ups but it is not impossible.Once you have your business plan outlining your expected cash , it is a good start. You can consider options like:
- Loans from family or friends;
- Venture Capital financing in the form of debt/equity or both;
- Microfinance loans;
- Partner with someone with the money; or
- Credit agreements with suppliers.
Business owners should ask themselves how much financial assistance they really need before going for a loan.
- Hiring and retaining the right employees: Hiring good employees is not only good for your business; it is essential. Getting the right people into your company or business gets things moving in the right direction from the very beginning. As important as attracting good employees is, it is even more important to retain them because a high employee turnover rate will hurt the business’ bottom line.
Before you start a business, it is important to have a strong support system in place. You will be forced to make many important decisions, especially in the first few months. You will make mistakes and some of them might cost you money. In some cases, experience and learning from mistakes is the only way to learn. The only mistake not worth making is the one you do not learn anything from.