Starting a business is not a walk in the park like we all think. It is not a get up and go thing. It is a serious activity that is why it requires careful planning. Everyone get excited with the idea of starting their own businesses. Statistics has shown that many of those who talk about starting a business never really did, they only enjoy the thrill is gives to talk about it.
Now it is time to put your money where your mouth is. Follow the 10 steps listed below:
1. Generate a Profitable Business Idea:
Just before you start looking for a location or fund for your business the first most important thing you need is an idea. Idea, they say rules the world. You need to generate an idea – a profitable one for the matter. Except you are running an NGO, you need to make sure your idea will be a profitable one. The idea must yield turnover that will sustain the business you build round the idea.
2. Conduct a SWOT Analysis:
SWOT is an acronym for Strength Weakness Opportunities and T Carry out a thorough analysis on yourself or your business vis-à-vis the industry you are about to enter.
- Consider critically your strength within the industry i.e. those things (your strong points) that will make you and your business stand out in the industry. Identify and formulate strategies to capitalize on them for the survival of your business.
- Identify your weaknessese. those things (limitations) you cannot do well that would affect your performance in the industry. After indentifying your weaknesses, do not waste your time on how to improve on them, rather out-source them so that you can focus on other areas.
- Opportunities are those resources or prospects external to your business that you can capitalize on to grow your business in the industry.
- Threats are those factors external to your business but present in the industry that threatens the survival of your business.
You can ask management experts to assist you with on this step if you cannot embark on it yourself. The job must be thorough nonetheless.
3. Prepare a Feasibility Study:
A feasibility study is an initial study of the viability or profitability of a business idea or project. It also appraises the estimated cost and potential profit of a business idea or project. You can either do it yourself (Watch out for How to write a feasibility study on our DIY page soon) or contract consultants to write it for you.
4. Acquire the knowledge:
Knowledge is power. You need to acquire all the knowledge as it relates with the business you are about to embark on e.g. product knowledge, technical knowledge, marketing knowledge, industrial knowledge, raw materials sourcing, vendors, customers, demography etc. Learn the nitty-gritty of the business because there a difference between your business idea and your business idea as a business. Marketing research can give you most of the information you need.
5. Design a Business Plan:
Write your business plan at this point using all the information garnered from the steps above. Business Plan is a management tool used in planning and developing strategies for a business. See Complete Guide to Writing Business Plan for details on what a Business plan looks like.
6. Licenses and Permits:
Does your business require some form of special permit or license? If yes, try to get it before starting. E.g. businesses like mining, chemical handling business etc which affect the environment need special license or permit from the government. Be sure you check with your local authorities.
7. Register Your Company:
Register your business with the government. See How To Register A Company in Nigeria for details on how to go about it.
8. Source For the Fund to Start:
Funding is the live-wire of any business. It is the life-blood of your business for growth and survival. Funding is not the first thing, you do not start business because you have money. You start a business because you have an idea and to make money from it. Though people start business because of availability of money but the truth is that such businesses if not based on conceived ideas or well thought plans before money come, will die before long. See How to Get Funding For Your Business for further details.
9. Create the Product:
Get a good location (except it is a home based business) and do not over analyze. Start with all the energy you have. At this stage there is no need to procrastinate further. Emulate the Microsoft Corporation; they kept coming up with different versions of Windows Operating System (OS). Windows 1.0 was the very first version in November 20 1985, precisely 29 years ago and from that, they proceeded to Windows 2 and so on. They did not wait to get the perfect Windows OS. However, early this year 2015 they invented Windows 10 as a solution to the problems of Windows 8 (Read about the new Windows 10 here) who knows what they will come up with next? Embark on serious Marketing campaign like social media campaign and other marketing campaigns to boost your business and create brand awareness. Design your website, set up your social media pages and make yourself visible to all. So don’t wait start!
10. Run it Profitably:
Run your business like a good manager. Mind you do not work with the mindset of an employee else your company will not grow. Budget, cut your excesses, spend reasonably and be sure you are making money anytime you are opened for business.
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