Business Start-Up Guide

So, you want to own your own business. That’s great! Depending on how far along the planning phase you are, you can choose to make a strategic exit from your current job or you can continue doing your job while building your business. Here are some steps that can help you along the way:

Market Research

What’s the market like in terms of the cost to create your business and the demand for your product? You may think fried oats is a wonderful idea, but have you done a study to see how many people really like their oats fried? And what’s the competition like? Is there a huge corporation that specialises in boiled oats who will try to eat you raw – and won’t even bother to boil you a bit first? In other words, evaluate your potential competition; and measure their resources against yours. Research the monthly cost of your business.

Support

Check out what’s available in your country when it comes to resources for small business. Is there a Small Business Association or an organisation that offers assistance to local businesses? You may be pleasantly surprised!

Create a Business Plan

This has to be done before going to any financial institution for a loan. In a nutshell, it should include who you wish to target and how you will meet your costs – inclusive of repaying the loan – and over time, how you will generate a profit. VIDEO ON BUSINESS PLAN CREATION HERE

Financing

Here is where the picture gets a bit bigger. You may wish to be a one-man show. That’s fine IF you can financially sustain it. There are many examples of small businesses run by one person with minimal support. But then, you may wish to have a larger operation and here is where investors come in. Your investors may be persons you know and can trust and who sign on the dotted line to become shareholders in your company. Or, you may go the route of applying to your local credit union for a loan, which you may pay back over time.

Negotiate

Your suppliers, landlord and those who you will be paying out to, may ask a high price. Ensure that you don’t bite off more than you can chew; and talk with them and make your demands! Once they’re realistic, suppliers would usually come to an agreement that is doable.

Advertise

People need to know about you and your product. Look for the most cost-effective ways of advertising. You won’t advertise a product targeted towards school children and place ads on the radio while they’re in school, would you? No! If you have to, ask your local media house for rates and compare them, so that you make a wise decision. With social media the way it is, you can even handle your own advertising on Facebook and Instagram, without having to spend a fraction of what is normally spent on traditional media.

Reporting

This is a discipline that cannot be over-emphasized. Daily reports are essential, so that you are always aware of cash flow and how far you are from your monthly targets. At the end of each month, a report should also be written to yourself and the Directors of the company, with headings such as “Revenue”, “Advertising”, “Challenges” and “Successes” to name a few. (VIDEO OF EXAMPLE ON REPORTING)