Starting a business is the beginning of an exciting — and sometimes challenging period in your life. We have created a checklist to help guide you through the early stages of establishing your business. Follow the steps below to help you decide if you are ready to go into business, how to get started and where to seek help along the way.
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TIP: Download and print a copy of the checklist and tick off as you complete each section. Determine if you are ready Going into business for yourself for the first time will change your lifestyle, professionally and personally, and can involve a significant financial commitment. Whether your business succeeds or fails depends on many things including your abilities, initiative and capacity to work, as well as the economic and business environment.
Assess whether you are ready and your business skills. Assess your business idea The only way you can know if your business idea is going to work is by undertaking market research. This could involve researching information on the industry, undertaking competitor analysis and surveying potential customers. Determine the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats SWOT analysis of your business idea. Analyse your market research with an open and unbiased mind.
If your research shows that a proposed business venture has a high probability of failure it would be unwise for you to proceed. Read our section on the feasibility of your business idea for more detailed information. IBISWorld reports covering more than industries can be viewed at our business information centre.
You can also request industry benchmarks by contacting one of our business advisers.
Build your business plan Although initially it may seem like a lot of work, a well prepared business plan can save time and money in the long run and help you secure funding and major contracts. Learn more about business planning and use our template to complete your plan. Before you start, figure out what type of business you will have.
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Will it be a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or LLC? Then put together your plan. Having a written plan with your projected results and personal goals is the best way to stay on track. A business plan will put your ideas in concrete terms and help you identify places to change the business model where necessary.
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Have a good grasp on your start-up costs, sales, gross margins, profits, cash flow, and the specific metrics associated with your business. Look for ways to cut costs where you can. Tip : Here are 10 ways to market your small business on a shoestring budget. Being a small business owner is one of the hardest jobs around.
Being a business founder can be very lonely and there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything. Have a question about starting your business? Hal is passionate in helping small businesses start up and grow. Get insider tips, hints, and techniques for creating a winning business Start sending the best email today. Free for 60 days. It will keep you focused on the most important items and is more likely to be referred to on a regular basis, and can also be used for fundraising for your venture. When selecting your corporate structure keep the big picture in mind, including fundraising goals.
By now you know the people you need to begin building your business and for advancing to the next milestone. You now have a good handle on what you need and who you need.
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You just might not have the finances or financial cushion to make it possible and comfortable. Any future funding is going to rely on gaining some traction here, being able to show growth in key metrics and collecting valuable feedback from this first cohort of customers.
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Find new markets, amp up customer acquisition, and maybe begin rolling out additional products or services. I would also recommend listening to the DealMakers Podcast where some of the most successful entrepreneurs share how they did it. I have often found that learning from other experiences may help you in mastering your strategy and execution. For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel see it here that I recently covered. I am a serial entrepreneur and the author of the The Art of Startup Fundraising.