8 Steps to Starting Your Own Business
There are times when we just think things are just as easy as they seem but that’s not true especially in the business spheres. For example, I have has some couple of friends who once told me that they want to go into business and when I tried to make inquiry about the particular one, what I hear them say speaks volume. In fact you will agree with me that the business actually did die before it was birthed.
Nothing just happen. There are factors that make up for things. Before you can go into any kind of business, I have listed out 8 Steps to Starting Your Own Business and I believe this will come as handy as you journey into the business world.
- Conduct a personal evaluation
So many of us grew up imitating what others were doing without actually discovering who we are or what we are capable of doing. So many persons jump into a profession or career or a particular because Mr. A Mrs. B are into it. And before a few months, the entire business has crashed. It is very imperative that before you go into any business that you “Know yourself, and work in a job that can flow according to your strengths and your psychology. Begin by taking stock of yourself and your situation:
Before you venture into any business or career, there are basic questions one needs to ask oneself and then sincerely answer yourself. When you do this, then you are good to go. Below are some of the questions.
Why do you want to start a business?
Is it for money?
Is it for freedom and flexibility?
Is it to solve a problem, or some other reason?
What are your skills?
What industries do you know about?
Do you want to provide a service or a product?
What do you like to do?
How much capital do you have to risk?
Will it be a full-time or a part-time venture?
Your answers to these types of questions will help you narrow your focus.
Now don’t get discouraged by these questions are worn out. They are actually gonna make you understand who you are, what you are and what you want from this business. So many a times, many persons just zero their attention “passion”. Yeah passion is as important as the business but passion won’t be enough.
In as much as I believe you should know yourself, it is quite imperative to also have a detailed and written plan, set workable goals, and be determined to see these written goals and written plans become a reality.
Also there is an important aspect we should not neglect at all and that have to do with knowing what your strengths are. Know your weaknesses. The reasons for this because you want to know how this can directly and indirectly affect your day to day activities as regards your business. A famous philosopher by the name Socrates once said that “oh man know thyself”.
I have always recommended adequate training before you go into business. The Easterners from Nigeria ( the Igbos) have the best business education I have ever seen with my own eyes. You are meant to serve your master for some time and all through this period you will learn the act of that business. Don’t go into anything you lack total idea about because you will learn the hard and fatal way.
Below are some good questions to ask yourself before you venture into any business:
What would you do if money wasn’t an issue?
Now becareful how you think about money as you journey. Having Money is not as important making it via yourself and if this true and it is true then you may probably going to be cutting out a number of options you may have.
How do you raise your capital?
Don’t just out to borrow when you can actually talk some immediate family members of your for assistance. As at the beginning of your journey, they may not have a choice but to make sacrifices at the beginning.
Who do you admire in business? (Mentorship)
Sometimes there are just a few persons we look up in business and we just decided to go into business. But it will be very important to know why do you admire them? What are their likable traits? What can you learn from these set of people?
Truthfully speaking, the above questions are not just question to spike you. But they are questions if sincerely answer, will be a motivating factor, will make you understand your capability to strive and achieve goals. Choose a business that you can easily associate yourself with. A business that is not born out greed or frustration but through leaning and also ensure that your business must match personality and psychology.
- Analyze your industry.
You don’t want to get a car key and jump into the car without first learning how to drive first, the result will be fatal. As a beginner you must first understand the business industry you are about to go into because this will place you on a very advantageous and a protective side. Don’t just into it with a shallow understanding of what that particular business is all about.
Let me quickly drop this very important advice here. There is always a need to evaluate your ideas after you decided on the business you are going into which probably fits your goals and lifestyle. There are other factors that comes to mind as you decide how best to go about starting your business and these factors will come as a personal question to you.
Who are the targeted customers that need your products or services?
Also, who are your competitors?
And lastly but very important is to evaluate how much it will cost to start up the said business.
Never take personal evaluation likely because this will be as much a reality check as a prompt to get you thinking. This exactly what happens when you take a concrete step into evaluating, researching your business and the industry you will like to go into.
Doing this is not gonna be a hectic job. I will list out some simple ways you can carry out this research and evaluation on yourself.
You can perform a general Google searches
Speak to people who are already working in your target industry because in this case, lessons from an experience person in the industry will come in handy.
Reading books by people from your industry is equally important. Infact this happens to be one of my favorites though many find it very boring and tiring This have to do with you researching key people, reading relevant news sites and industry magazines and taking a class or two if you want to but trust me, it is a healthy one.
Well, some of you might not really have the time or chance to do all of these then you have to use the other available options that we have introduced which can come in the form of help from government departments and your local SBDC.
In terms of advertisement, there are also a number of less traditional sources you can explore:
We have what we call advertising representatives for statistics and data on your competition or the industry in general
Also you can check for list brokers sell mailing or email lists which equally based on demographic attributes. For example, your target audience might be people making above a certain income AT Lagos Island, what a list broker will do for you is to make you know how many people fit that criteria, to give you a sense of how big your target market really is.
- 3. Evaluate your target audience.
We can also call this market analysis. What this means is that you are to know who and what your market audience are. This will go a long way to determining how attractive your prospective market really is.
The reasons for these are that it will guide your research as you think about the following:
How urgently do people want your product or services? Is it a commodity in high demand or not etc.
What’s the market size? You have to research if the people there are already paying for similar products or services to yours?
You have to be very specific of who exactly your target audience are and being specific will help you focus your marketing message and investment so that you don’t end up wasting time and resources altogether.
What will be the cost to deliver a goods to a particular customer based on the value you would like to offer.
What’s the distance from where you are to the market? Will it take more than the required time?
Remember that you might not have the entire cash to start up the business so you need no How much up-front investment you will need so that you can start.
You need to know if the business can stand the test of time. Yeah because you don’t want to go into a business and three years’ time, you have lost your entire customers to changes. If you are into the repair a particular model of phone, hope when that model goes you will still be very relevant in the industry? Ensure you start a business that will keep you on course for life.
For me, I will advise that you take things a bitter further by looking into the consumer needs that are scarcely met currently by various business persons. This could be your jackpot.
At this point, you have to take a critical look into who your potential competitors are. And don’t be negative about competitors because it only means that that the market for your product or service already exists. What this mean? Kit means that you have already potential clients who will be willing to spend their cash on what you offer.
At your spare time, judiciously spend time studying your competitors. You have to know many things about, know what they do, how they do what they do, how they are able to win and retain customers, how they are been able to attract customers, also you need to find out whether or not their customers are happy. When you have finally done these, then you have done almost 80n percent of the job.. The rest will be a work over.
- Set up your business.
Basically, before you open any kind of business it will be of your utmost interest to register your company first. That will give it a legal backing. With it also, you will be seen to be real and serious. It will be advised but not compulsory to work with an attorney to iron out the business details.
Carefully engage in this because you don’t want to get it wrong here. Also will also need to have the proper business licenses and permits that are basically required. Some of these documents needed varies from state to state but here in Nigeria, it a particular one that we all use. So what you have in Lagos state is the same thing you have in Abia state. . Again you will need the services of the insurance company. And am sure you understand what I mean by this. When you are about going into this, you have to look for a good accountant.
There are different types of business formations and they include the following:
Limited Liability Company (LLC)
Well we can’t hide the fact that incorporating in business can be expensive but the truth is that it is well worth every penny. This means the corporation has becomes a separate entity that is legally responsible for the business issues alone. So if something goes wrong, you are less likely to be held personally liable.
Another very important factor in starting up your own business is the company’s name or business name. You are expected to name your business based on what you are into. You don’t expect to name your school business car wash center. No one will take you serious. So choose a name that is related to what you do.
- Start the planning process
“Our goals can only be reached through the vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.” Great quote from a great business guru. – Pablo Picasso
For those who might need or seeking outside financing, then you have to start considering the use of a business plan which is a necessity. Some might say well, this is not for me since a, financing the business myself. Well you are still wrong because even if you are going to finance the venture yourself, a business plan will help you figure out how much money you will need to get started with, and what it will take to make your business profitable venture not, minding the circumstances, what needs to get done with so that you can be on top of your business game.
While not let’s call a business plan a roadmap? He who fails to plan, have already planned. With a detailed business plan, you are sure on your way to having a successful business. With it on you, any day you are sure going to reach your goals. More often I always tell people that a business plan is not just a document that you’ll only use when you want obtain a loan from a bank but rather think of it as a tool to manage how your business can grow and achieves its designated goals.
Some of the important aspect of the business plan is that it is part of your pitch to investors and banks, and also to attract potential partners and board members who will part and parcel of your business. Also you will need it to define your strategy, tactics, and specific activities for execution, including key milestones, deadlines and budgets, and cash flow. These are key element in having a good detailed business plan.
The business plan as it were actually does not have to be a formal document. The reason was that you need to give everyone a clue about your business plan. It ought to be your personal guide. Rather your business plan can follow a Lean Planning process that involves creating a pitch, forecasting your key business numbers, which results in outlining key milestones you hope to achieve at a particular time, and also regularly check your progress if there be need to review and revise your plan.
The only time you have to show anyone your business plan is when you are showing it to investors but if not, don’t think of this as a formal pitch presentation, but instead a high-level overview of who you are, the problem you are solving, your solution to the problem, your target market, and the key tactics you will use to achieve your set targets and goals.
Well for those who may think they don’t need a business plan, all I have to advice is that you go through the planning process thoroughly. The process as it were, will help to uncover any holes or areas you have not thought through well enough. If you want a business plan on any business at all, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org we will be on hand to assist you with it. It’s not free but it’s quite affordable.
Steps to Starting Your Own Business