How to start a business in simple steps
Starting your own business is the first step towards your financial freedom. Yet many talented people have failed to achieve it. Why? Because they have failed to understand the business world. Mindset, preparation, dedication and work ethic is way more important than raising capitals to fund your business. Therefore, regardless of how much someone has raised, if they lack the qualities above, it will result in their ultimate failure.
So, below is a simple guide to help you to better prepare yourself for the challenges you are about to face. Your journey will be extremely lonely and tough. However, if you have even thought of starting your own business, you will stand a chance be being successful!
1. Have an idea.
Many entrepreneurs start a business in a sector they are familiar with, or when they sees a gap in the market. Unfortunately, unique and exciting ideas don't just pop into people's brain from nowhere. The most successful businessmen have identified the weaknesses in the existing products so they innovate and produce something that appeals to the general public. If they are successful, they will be revolutionising the world. Now, your new product doesn't have to be a physical object, it can be a service, a software or even an app! The trick is to know what people really wants and then, turn the vision into reality. Another way to come up with an idea is to follow the trend. Right now, we are about to enter a robotic revolution. Be the first few to seize this opportunity because just like the internet revolution, robotic technology will change the way people live once again! It's also important to have a thorough knowledge on business, management, and basic bookkeeping. I have personally experience the rewards from reading relevant books, articles, and most important of all, learn from the best! When you possess all the essential knowledge, nothing can stop you then.
What do you think is going to happen to the robotic sector in the next 20 years
2. Have a plan
The famous quote "If you have failed to plan, plan to fail" tells us the importance of planning especially before you jump into the world of enterprises. The world of enterprises is like a battle field, either you make more than what you will ever need or you lose everything you have within a split second. A business plan is not an essay, therefore a 400-page business plan is barely useful and it certainly won't attract any customers. In reality, a two page business plan a more than enough. Nowadays, entrepreneurs can succeed in their chosen sector with a single page business plan. So the whole idea is to produce a useful, yet sophisticated plan which contains concentrated information. In your plan, you should include an outline of the following:
- What is your product
- How will it benefit the public
- An appropriate pricing
- Where are you going to sell it
- How are you going to advertise it
- How are you going to finance your business
- Who could be your customer (demographic)/location
-What is your budget
3. Finance your business.
This is perhaps the biggest obstacle when starting a business. Make sure you have a clear plan on how much capital you need to stay afloat before your business starts to generate income. But raising capital is not as easy, so here are some of the ways to raise money:
- Family and friends
- Bank loan
- Government grant/support scheme
- Crowdfunding (online)
- Selling shares of your business
- Venture capital
-And don't forget Dragon's den and Shark tank!
For many people, self-finance or getting helps from family and friends are quite impossible. But no matter what method you use, raising fund requires negotiation, persuasion, and communication skills. It's a good idea to listen to successful and unsuccessful pitches and evaluate them to see what was great about their pitches, and what could have been improved. After all, it's way more efficient to learn from other people's mistakes than to learn from your own mistakes.
4. Legal entity.
Before starting a business, you have to decide on a business name; and what kind of corporation you would like to setup (e.g. sole trader, partnership, private limited company etc.), but more importantly, what kind of corporation suits your business the best. You will have to register your business with your local authority, which will then require a legal fee before you can start your business properly. So make sure you do your research and read the laws and regulations for pre-started businesses. Laws and regulations differs from country to country. In USA, it differs from state to state. So it might be wise to chose a location that will financially benefit your business. One of the common thing people do is to locate their business headquarter in a low corporation tax state. It's good to consult with your banker, lawyer and accountant who will provide you with a professional advice. An attractive business name is also essential. A good business name should be short, simple yet descriptive and easy to read. So be sure to have a name that's as innovative as your product!
5. Create a website.
Every business in the 21th century will has a website, with technology growing day by day, it would be silly not to create one. For any business, a well deigned website plays a huge role in the future success. People will be able to view your products from all over the world. After all, the chances of generating sales are higher when you show your products to millions of people instead of a few thousands. It will not only generate sales, but it will also attract potential partners, so treat it as a platform to showcase your business to the whole world. There are companies such as GoDaddy.com that offers cheap and affordable web hosting/domain name, so make the most out of the modern technology! A good way to start is to look at other websites and determine a style that you like, which also suits your business (e.g. modern, classic, simple etc.). A good website should be simple-designed, easy to navigate, informative with a consistent theme.
6. Find a mentor.
Too many people just overlook this section, regardless of one's profession, but all successful people in all fields have some kind of mentor. A mentor will guide your through tough times and teach you the essentials. A mentor can be a family member, a friend, an industrial leader, a teacher/professor or anyone that you can connect with that is experienced, and is willing to help you. By having a more knowledgeable person helping you, it prevents you from going off track and keeps you highly focused and motivated. Especially in business, it's no good if someone fails again and again, even though there are claims saying that making mistakes will help you in the long term, but constant mistakes will be enough to discourage anyone and maybe it will make that person quit and this is a sad reality. A mentor will prevent those kind of mistakes from happening and they will show you the perspective from a higher level, which gives you an advantages and a higher starting point than your competitors, who doesn't have a mentor. Never believe the fact that you can learn everything by yourself in a short period of time. If you do, it will cause a great deal of stress and procrastination.
This is an obvious part for all businesses, whether if you are just a start-up or your are already running a multi-billion dollar company. Advertise your business well is the key to income generation. With today's technologies, you can advertise your business anywhere. There are expensive ways such as TV advertisements or famous magazine advertisement. But there are also cheap, yet efficient ways. The best place to advertise your product is social media. Like a website, you can show the rest of the world your new product! The latest statistics shows that there are 1.79 billion people on Facebook, 317 million people on Twitter and 500 million people on Instagram! This is nothing but a 21th century bonus for all businesses, and an advantage that entrepreneurs should take immediately. One of the biggest advantages of social media advertisement is that it costs little to none, so there's really no major risks in this type of advertisement, where as if you spend a lot of money on TV advertisement, the risk reward ratio can be up to 50:50.
What sector do you think will boom in 2017?
Starting a business will be a lonely road. But in a world like ours, nothing can stop you from achieving your goals. As long as you dream big and work hard, you will overcome all the obstacles and realise that being an entrepreneur is one of the most rewarding experience in your lifetime. So make the most out of it. Absorb and enjoy every moment of it.
Wish you luck!
Examples of business ideas
Bed & Breakfast