This guide is an introduction to mastering the art of “How to start a business.” It provides easy to follow steps to start a business. What you will find in our Beginner’s Guide is a blueprint that takes you from learning the basics of business to becoming a knowledgeable guy. This guide has been designed to help you achieve those goals in an easy to read, step by step way.
Once you have mastered each chapter in our “How To Start A Business” guide, you will be well on your way to starting a business while should you need any help in starting a business, we will be happy to assist you for free.
The Beginner’s Guide to Successful Business Set-up
Chapter 1: Introduction
Are you bored of working for long hours and getting lesser than you deserve? Would you rather prefer to be your own boss and dictate terms of your own life? Do you have the belief that you can create a product or a service that people will ask for? Are you confident that your idea will work even in these tough economic conditions? Well, if your answers to these questions has been ‘Yes’, then you are looking at the right guide that will tell you how to start a business.
In this guide, we will cover the most important steps of starting a business and while we cannot claim the list to be an exhaustive one, we do recommend that you spend enough time on each one of these to ensure that your business idea is a well thought out and not just an impulsive decision.
Chapter 2: Where to start?
Office frustrations, we have all faced aplenty and a vacation is good solution. Unfortunately, working vacations are also a common affair these days and the only permanent solution is to leave your workplace and start something of your own. However, the first question you need to ask is, ‘Am I prepared to do this?’ or Do I strongly believe that I can work on my own?.
Starting your own business does not mean freedom from stress. Rather, stress levels can be much higher in a self owned business since your individual performance decides whether the business will flourish or not! So, the place to start your own business is within yourself, when you make the decision to standby your decision come rain or sunshine.
Chapter 3: What to do?
Once you have stepped out of your own inhibitions, it is time to decide what sort of business you would like to start. For a person with a vast experience or someone with an extremely ambitious plan, there can be multiple starting points and narrowing down to a single idea can be an extremely difficult decision. This decision making can be made a bit easier if you can sort your business ideas in the order of experience you have in dealing with each one of them.
The area where you are the most experience might be the safest bet since you can utilise your experience here. Having said that, an new idea or a concept which you might have come across might have much larger potential in the future, provided you can execute the plan. If you are planning to offer a service in a particular area, then is always better to research a little bit the demand for such a service and the competition you will be facing, when you enter the arena.
Chapter 4: How to do it?
Once you narrowed down on the business idea, it is now time to spend some quality time researching extensively about the field. You could even be an expert in the field but it is wiser to check on new developments and recent trends in the market before setting up your business. This research could be simple to do thanks to search engines like Google that can pull up information on market share, demand, etc. for you or else, you would have to visit your prospective clients to find out more about their requirements and expectations from a service/ product provider. Additionally, information can also be sought from governmental institutions that overlook major industrial sectors such as textiles, pharmaceuticals or automobile or even those who monitor small and medium scale enterprises.
Chapter 5: What do I need to know?
Finding out information through various sources will provide you with a clear picture of the sector you would like to do business in, thereby helping you identify gaps in the current system that you could address with your product or service. In case your business idea is a tried and tested one, then there is a good possibility that others in your area are doing it as well and this would be a good time to gauge your competition.
In addition to knowing whom you will be competing with, this bit of research will also help you determine the expected pricing for your product / service, something that will in turn determine your business model, investments required and profit you expect to turn.
Chapter 6: What do I need to plan?
If you have progressed so far in the guide and your idea still holds good, then chances are you’re your business idea is quite a feasible one and it is time that you formalize your business plans and start working on them. To do this, you need to come up with a formal document that details your product / service along with the money, manpower, space and time that you will need to convert your idea into reality.
An advanced version of this plan would also include the market share that your competitors, if any hold, and the market you aim to capture in the time ahead of you. This document can even be presented in front of potential investors or bankers if you are looking to raise money through a loan. In case, you requirements of money for starting up may be low and you plan to raise funds through your own saving or through family and friends, it is a good idea to have a plan in place so that you do not pool in too much money to get started.
Chapter 7: What should I prepare for?
Business plan ready and money raised, you are ready to go on your adventure of starting a business. However, there are many things that were not listed in your business plan but you should be ready for. First among them is the long wait that comes between starting up and your first sale. If you are in the service business, it could only be about convincing somebody to hire you, however, those of you who are entering the manufacturing business, the wait to get the prototype ready can be much longer, probably in months or even years and time to first sale could also be longer than expected. The key to getting through such times is being patient and not getting disheartened. It is extremely important that you retain faith in the product / service you are going to offer and only then can you convince someone to try it.
During this period, you will have no income from your business and therefore face financial constraints as well. You waved good bye to your paid holidays the day you started your business (even in case you have been keeping a full/ part time job) and this may change your life style by a great degree, whether you like it or not. In case, there is no alternate source of income, it is better to set aside an amount for about 3 months of personal expenses so that you do not eat into your investment capital during this period of time. Even as your business gets going, you might face a credit crunch due to non-payments or delayed payments from your clients, which you should be prepared for.
Excessive work load and financial pressure can also affect your ties with your family and close friends. It is extremely important to take onboard your business idea, people who really matter to you, since these are the people you can look forward to in times of need. Other than support from family and friends, your business could be heavily dependent on a couple of individuals such as technicians or business development executives who set the wheel in motion every time. While these individuals are vital to your business, you must prepare an exigency plan in case; these key players become unavailable due to any reason, whether personal or business related.
Chapter 8: Where can I get help?
In spite of all the research and preparedness that you have put into starting your business, life can get a little tough once you start. However, there are lots of people out there you can seek help from. For instance becoming a member of Trade Associations can help you increase your network and provide newer opportunities for business.
Governmental institutions can be a great help to seek support, whether monetary or technical and there are plenty of programs, where experienced professionals do the hand holding as you take your baby steps into the business world. Speaking to other businessmen from your own sector can also be useful since established businesses can provide you unique insights into carrying out your tasks.
Last but not the least, you must speak to your own customers and try to find out more about their requirements and how you can fulfil them. Additionally, seek feedback from your customers and try to identify the drawbacks of your product and service and make conscious attempts to improve it. Only through constant improvement can you make your business stand out and guarantee success for yourself.
Chapter 9: What about Legalities?
While the concept, business model and administration are important parts of establishing your business, there is also the legal side to running a business. While legalities are filled with jargon and may be difficult to comprehend at first, it is important that you also cover the legal aspect for your business. Your business could be self-owned, a partnership with another person or an incorporated company.
Each mode of conducting business has its own advantages and you are the best judge to decide which way you would like to legalise your business. However, it is important to clearly define the stake holders in your business and redefine them when an investor joins later on. You could also include company policies, vision of the company and laws of the company that define certain procedures such as those involving selling of business and its assets.
Chapter 10: Conclusion
We hope you have enjoyed reading our simple guide to help you start your own business. If you enjoy working for yourself and have a skill to sell, then there is no joy than to have a business of your own. We wish you luck for your endeavour and sincerely hope that it is successful.