Plan your business start-up
Good planning and a strong focus on your market will give you a good chance of successfully developing your idea into a business in the future. To maximise the chances of your new business being a success, ask yourself the following questions: Where are you? Where do you want to get to? What will it cost?
How will you get there?
These questions are just some examples of the many important factors to consider before you set up a business. You must decide which markets and customer groups you want to sell to and how you will do it. You must be sure that your customers will want to buy from you and that you will make money on what you sell. During the planning phase, a clearly formulated business concept and vision will help you map out the way ahead. It can also be a good idea to draw up a plan for how you will do this.
Listen to the market
The big question before you make a start is of course whether your business will be a success and whether it will be able to generate a profit. No one can answer these questions with any certainty of course, but if you are market-oriented, you can get some indication by:
- asking future customers what they think of what you are offering
- asking suppliers what they think
- keeping an eye on businesses which are established in the sector
Vision and business concept
It can be useful to spend time during the planning phase formulating a vision and business concept for your idea.
A vision is a desired future position which you and your business want to achieve in the long term, and will act as a guide for your future business. An idea becomes a business concept when it can meet a need in the market and give a competitive edge which can be maintained over time. A business concept describes what you want to sell and to whom and how the customers will buy from you.
Example of a vision and business concept:
IKEA's vision is "To create a better everyday life
for the many people". The business idea is to support this vision "by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them".
Involve others in the planning process
Discuss your idea with other people who can give you useful input to help you develop your idea. Build a network of resource people who can help you in areas where you need it. Such people could include the municipal authority's business development manager, your bank, an accounting firm, an auditor or a solicitor if you need help drawing up agreements.
Draw up good plans
If you are considering working with a business partner or applying for financing from a bank, for example, they will want you to demonstrate that you have established realistic plans and budgets before they will consider working with you.
All relevant information concerning how you intend to realise your business concept should be summarised in your business model. The next step in the planning phase will be to prepare start-up budgets and, if appropriate, draw up a business plan.