Deciding to start your own business can be both daunting and exciting. However, you can ensure it remains more exciting than daunting by being properly prepared before embarking on the first step of your business adventure. These seven vital points can make sure you lay the perfect foundations for your start-up and can also ensure you avoid costly mistakes.
Be it a financial investment, or continuous business advice from an experienced advisor; assistance is essential when starting your own business. It is extremely rare that a successful business begins without monetary backing from other sources, and you, therefore, need to locate a reliable source of investment. It can be from a bank, or even friends or family. Whoever your investors are, ensure you are both covered legally by having a lawyer draw up official contracts. This is imperative whether it is a business contact that is choosing to invest in your company or product, and perhaps even more so when taking money from family and friends. Business advice is important when embarking on your very first business adventure and seeking the advice from a successful business person can prevent you from suffering the pitfalls often experienced by inexperienced entrepreneurs.
- Have a solid business plan
Some view a business plan as a waste of time, but this is important for both the structure of your business and in convincing investors that your business is a worthwhile venture. Enlist the help of professional writers if you need, who possess the relevant experience and will know what should be included in your plan and how it should be presented. A business plan should present and answer questions such as, what is the purpose of the business? Who is involved? Who are your customers? What are your aims? What makes this a sustainable and growing business? Who are your competitors? A business plan is not only useful for explaining to potential investors how they can share in the business’s eventual success, but it will also serve as a reminder to you what the initial purpose and ethos of your business was when it falters at any point.
- Be financially savvy
You may have been putting off approaching investors as you are currently suffering from bad credit. Now is the time to do something about it. Investors will not want to give money to a business run by someone with bad credit, so you need to be proactive in changing your financial status. Pay off any outstanding debts as soon as you can and set up repayment plans for creditors that you can’t afford to pay in full. Another simple way to increase your credit rating is to use a credit card, specifically for those with bad credit. These types of cards have been created to allow users with bad credit to build up their credit. There are different types of bad credit credit cards, with some requiring a deposit which is returned when your balance has been completely cleared, and others that do not require a deposit, but may charge higher interest rates. It is advisable to increase your credit rating as much as possible before you approach any potential investors.
- Be prepared for change
Adaptability is crucial in business, and if you are prepared to acknowledge that not everything will go to plan, your flexible approach could keep your business afloat. One such example of adaptability is when independent stores have embraced online shopping to ensure their business keeps up with the times. Another example is how publishers now recognize that more and more people want to read books on devices rather than hardback copies, and they have had to supply this option to sell books. You may even find yourself offering an entirely different product from when you initially began your business, and if you are prepared to do this, your business could expand in ways you never dreamed possible.
- Choose your location wisely
Is your store going to be in the right place for your target audience? Are your offices easily accessible to potential business investors and customers? The location of your business is essential, especially if it is intended to be more than just an online venture. Don’t be afraid to change your location to a more favorable position if your current location isn’t providing the profits you expected. Your business may be failing because of where it is based, and so, instead of giving up on the venture entirely, assess whether your target demographic is being ignored simply because you aren’t in the perfect location.
- Trust your instincts
If you have ever had a gut feeling that turned out to be right, you will understand this next piece of advice. There are risks in any business, and you can, of course, choose to be ever cautious, but if your gut is telling you to follow a business deal, or an idea, you could do well to trust this instinct. Gut instincts are usually a combination of drawing on past experiences and outcomes and being able to read people. If you don’t trust a potential business partner or are reluctant to be swayed in a certain direction, check out the person and business deal first. Trusting your instincts doesn’t necessarily mean making a rash decision, but it does mean listening to yourself.
- Welcome advice, but follow it carefully
Advice as a fledgling business can be essential, yet too much of the wrong sort of advice can be detrimental to your business. Choose your advisors carefully, and even if life-long friends insist they are right about aspects of your business, remember, unless they have experience and qualifications in business, their advice is hardly likely to be accurate. As with trusting your instincts, it is important to listen to your own advice, and if unsolicited advice is being passed your way, don’t feel obliged to take it. Seek out experienced business people, attend business seminars, take advantage of free business advice from banks, and other potential investors. Perhaps, more importantly, try to get advice from those whose businesses were not successful so you can avoid the pitfalls they encountered. All these sources are the people whose advice you should consider.