So you want to start a business.
Updated: Jun 22, 2022
You have a great idea for a business! You might have been thinking about it for a long time and you're feeling the push more than ever to actually doing something about it. This is exciting! And scary. But it might just be the best thing you ever do in your working life - there's only one way to find out. If the idea or the thought really feels right and is aligned with something you have expertise in (or an absolute passion for), then you should probably go for it.
I say probably because there are a few things you should think about before you do. The first one is get everything down on paper and make a plan.
I'm totally a list person, and I'm also a risk averse person, so I am going to encourage you to really think everything through and make a proper plan in order to give your new business venture the best chance of success.
Fail to Plan = Plan to Fail.
These days there are less barriers to entry into the market particularly in the eCom space, but it's still important to go through the process and think about the issues that will help avoid potential problems in the future.
So you've made the decision, you're going to go for it! Congratulations!
Now where do you start?
Write it all out! in a Business Plan.
What is a Business Plan Exactly?
It's a really important document describing your business, including all the details you need to nut out in order to give this idea of yours the best chance of success. It doesn't have to be super formal, unless you do require finance, your investors are going to request a very formal plan. I'm going to take you through a very informal plan and what you should think about.
You can get a free business plan online, here are a few good ones:
Business Australia Business Plan Template
Aust Government Lean Business Plan Template
Shopify Free Business Plan Template
Writing it all down is essential to get your ideas into some sort of order and workable format for you to get to the next part - which is working on those tangible steps to get your plan off the ground. And actually writing about your amazing idea is exciting because it gets you one step closer to making it all happen.
Here are some of the main topics you want to think about, and writing it all down not only brings clarity to your thoughts and ideas, but can also be used as a starting point for your copy, and marketing material.
Business concept. What does your business do?
Business Goals. Set small goals for your first year and make sure you work toward them.
Business goals and vision. What does your business want to achieve in the future? What is your grand vision?
Product description and differentiation. What do you sell, and why is it different?
Target market. Who do you sell to?
Marketing strategy. How do you plan on reaching your customers?
Current financial state. What do you currently earn in revenue?
Projected financial state. What do you foresee earning in revenue?
Startup funds. How much money are you going to need to get started? How are you going to fund it?
The team. Who’s involved in the business?
CLARIFY YOUR IDEAS
YOUR BUSINESS VALUES
write your mission statement
YOUR BUSINESS CONCEPT
what does your business do/sell?
Create an Avatar
Identify your customers, so that you can market your product/service to them. Be specific, and think about their age, where they live, where they work, interests, income. The more detail the better. There's a saying in marketing
If you market to everyone, you market to no-one. And it is so true.
Creating your avatar will make it so much easier to be specific with your marketing efforts and target the right people who will want to buy your product or book you service.
Research Trends in your industry
Learn about current trends and future projections to inform your decisions and plan ahead.
Research your competitors. What can you do better, and how can you differentiate yourself to others in your market. Make sure you do your due dilligence with regard to copyright, safety issues, insurance so you can address those issues before they become a problem.
IDENTIFY POTENTIAL BLOCKS
WHAT DO YOU NEED?
VIABILITY - RUN THE NUMBERS!
Unless you plan to not make any profit out of your idea. You are going to need to run the numbers. I'm talking cost analysis, pricing, profit margins. Everything. If the numbers don't make sense then your idea either needs work or it's not a viable option. It's better to find out before you launch into it and get yourself into all sorts of debt and potential legal issues.
If the numbers make sense, this is fantastic and another sign that you are on the right track.
Your executive summary
2. Your business profile, including the organisational structure and operations model
3. Your market, including industry analysis, SWOT analysis and marketing plan
4. Your business future, including a vision statement and mission statement
5. Your finances, including current and past performance, assumptions and expected cash flow