You have this crazy idea, and you know it will sell out pretty well. You don’t want to spend your life working at your current job, plus the pay isn’t even that good. Your responsibilities are growing, and you need an extra source of income. Starting a business is just the perfect answer. Well, you could pick up an extra job too. But if you are for starting a business, then this is for you.
The initial stage of launching a business can be exciting and overwhelming. There are many things to consider, many things to plan, and many things to learn. One of the many things that can kill your business on arrival is underestimating what it needs to kick off.
Sadly many Startups find themselves in this situation. It might be your first business, but that is not an excuse. There is no rule that you have to fail at one before you have a successful one. You can learn on the job while growing that one.
But there is a rule that for the business to survive, you must start strong and start well. And that is the question you should ask yourself repeatedly before you launch, have I done all that is needed?
Every business is unique in what you need to do and plan. But here is a list to check to keep you on the right path. If you don’t have any of these figured out yet, you need to return to the drawing table.
The Right Product
This is the most basic thing to get started. Your idea might not be the right product. And that is one thing a lot of intending Startups need to understand. Your idea might be way ahead of its time and that means people will not be able to connect with your products. Several Startups with great products have had to pack up only for the same product to be in demand years later. Do you have a great idea? Good, now refine it into a great product - the right product.
The Right Place
You could be at the wrong place at the right time. Well, it could be the wrong place and the wrong time. Proximity to the comfort of your home should not be the chief influencer of your Startup location. Proximity to market and raw materials/source should come first. Consider how easy it is for the people who need your products to be exposed to them and access them. It might mean setting up in a new region, but the last thing need for your business is to be set up in the wrong place.
If you think ten is too much, are you planning on closing down after five years? Have a plan of where you want to be and what you have to do in ten years. It will guide every decision you make year in year out. Your team will also have a picture of what to work towards. The value of this plan cannot be understated. It is easy to get distracted when the money starts to flow in, and the hard work begins to pay off. This plan will remain a constant reminder that there is still more to be done.
What happens after ten years? Expand the plan, create a new plan, continue the plan. The goal is Club 100 - 100 years in business and counting. Through the years, you can review the plan to accommodate current and emerging realities, but don’t water it down.
Now, this is a plan that will constantly come under review but you should start with it. Have a plan that details expected sources of revenue and what would be done to ensure continuous flow from those sources. Create a pricing structure. The prices of things will definitely change, so it is not about setting a fixed price you must abide by. It is having a formula for setting prices. If you intend to offer payment plans, develop the plans and their terms and conditions. Don’t wait till your customer asks before you start thinking of what to do. It pays to be fully prepared.
The Right Partners
No business is self-sufficient or completely independent of other businesses. You need the product of others just as people need your products. If you use raw materials, you would need a supplier. If you are into software development, you need other companies to power your systems. Do your research and choose your partners wisely because your partners can make or mar your products. And to the customer, all the fault is yours because you could have chosen a different partner. Your partners can cost you your customers, your money, deals and even your company. Yes, it can be that bad.
One of such partners you should consider well before making a choice is your payment partner. When it comes to money, always be double sure. Redbiller guarantees your chances of making sales and scaling your business by providing multiple payment methods to your customers. We are committed to making the internet a safe place for businesses of all sizes to innovate and expand. Click here to learn more - Why Redbiller?
Every industry has written and unwritten rules that guide it. These rules range from customer expectations to industry standards to government policies. You do not want to be on the wrong side of any of those things. You can dare to be different, but make sure it is within acceptable bounds. Study your industry and know what you can do better that will give you an edge, especially as a Startup. Consider the industry trends and what is negotiable for you and what is not. You are allowed to get creative. You don’t have to play by every rule but play with the rules in mind.
Another mistake many Startups make is that they don’t know where they stand legally or where to start. Get legal counsel setting up your business, setting up your policies and drawing up employment and partnership contracts. Don’t wait till you need legal representation in court. Once you are starting a business, your business needs legal representation. You don’t have to employ a Lawyer. That is not a good idea considering that you have to keep the bills at a minimum. Just have a law firm you consult with, even better if you use a Friend.
I know this sounds like something for a football club. But the reality is we all need someone cheering us on cause it is nowhere as easy as it looks. Surround yourself with people who buy into your dream and are ready to support you every step of the way. The emotional support, the financial support, no matter how little, the marketing support, volunteer support will go a long way for you. So be sure to have people supporting you around, and sometimes that includes walking up to them and asking for their support.
The idea of this checklist is to be well prepared. Starting and running a business is not a leisure break or an escape from the labour market’s harsh realities. It is hard work. But it helps to have the right things in the right places.