It’s about this time of year you start to feel stuck in a rut. You have been at your job for years, it’s the same day in, day out and you look at your friends running their own businesses and they seem to have it all. So what is really involved in getting started with your own business? How viable is it?
1. Viability of your idea. Long before you need to worry about funding, websites, location for your business etc. of course the place to start is working out whether your idea is viable.
So what are some of the factors to determine if your idea is viable?
- Are you just another one? What I’m talking about here is are you another online store selling clothes or another price comparison website. No matter what it is you do, it must be unique; you must stand out from the crowd. You don’t necessarily need a product or service that doesn’t already exist it just means your uniqueness must be crystal clear.
- Who are your customers and how would they relate. To determine the viability of your idea you must have a clear picture of who your potential customer will be. Is it stay at home mums, uni students, small-medium business owners? How will your business idea help these people and how will you match the price point with what your target demographic would be comfortable spending on your service or product.
- Will you be able to easily sell your idea to your target demographic and convince the spend money with you over your competitors.
- Economy – pick your battles wisely. Be aware of the economic climate and how your product or service fits in with the current economic state.
- What are the costs involved to deliver your product/service – including costs associated with your income/salary.
- Based on the level of product/service you can see per transaction to your potential demographic how long will it take to make a return on your investment – obviously the sooner you can pay back your initial investment the sooner you can start making a profit.
2. You’ve got an idea but how can you fund it? One of the biggest hurdles with wanting to venture out and start your own business is funding. The likelihood is if your idea is big enough that you believe the income from your idea will weigh out what you are earning in your day job that it will cost a fair bit to set up and get up and running.
Some funding options available;
- Government grants. The Australian government has a grant finder. Grants and other funding programs are available for businesses from the Australian, state and territory governments, and in some cases from local councils. You can search through a wide variety of grants in many categories, including developing your business, innovation and education.
- Peer to peer lending. Allowing you to borrow directly from investors and cutting out the banks and typically high interest rates. The main player in Australia is http://www.societyone.com.au/
- Crowd Funding. Crowd funding allows you to obtain funding by a large number of people, typically online. There are many crowd funding websites in Australia.
- Banks. Of course there is also the traditional path of business loans through your bank. There are free templates online provided by the government to assist you with your business plan to supply to the bank.
3. Tools of the trade. We have all heard the saying, ‘if something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing it right’. Nothing is truer than with your business set up. There is no point launching a half-baked business that you plan on improving down the track. If you want your business to be talked about and to truly success come out with guns blazing.
So what are some of the things you need to launch a successful business with?
- Branding. Take the time to invest in great brand identity by enlisting a quality graphic designer for all of your logo and branding elements. Remember your brand is what you will be judged on. When you are picking business names try not to be so crafty and clever that no one actually understands what you are offering. Your name should be easy to remember and spell and should allow customers to understand the connection between your name and the product or services that you offer.
- Website. If you are serious about launching a successful business then it’s a no brainer in this day and age you are going to need a website. Of course depending on what your business idea this will determine the type of website that is required on what type of investment will be required. If you are a consultant or offering some type of service you will obviously not need the same type of complex website someone developing a price comparison site would need. In either case however remember that your website is your trust mark for new customers. Anyone who has not used your product or service before will go straight to your website to find all of the relevant information, costs, history on your company etc. so make sure that first impressions really impress. Enlist a professional web design company that can produce a custom website design for you that clearly reflects your businesses branding, services and company beliefs and policies. If you are really serious about presenting yourself as a market leader and an innovator forget using free or cheap templates that don’t project your true branding. If you are launching a business that requires a more complex site such as a comparison website for example make sure you enlist a qualified web developer that specialises in custom development work and allow yourself budget for this in your business plan.
- Marketing. After you have mapped out your business idea, identified your competitors and target market and sourced funding make sure you don’t forget to allow a strong marketing budget. So often we see businesses with a unique idea and concept but have failed to allow a budget for marketing. Depending on the type of business you are launching and of course who you are targeting will determine on the type of marketing that will work for you. Talk to your web design company about this if you are looking for some guidance as to what type of marketing might best work for your business.
- Time. The most underestimated thing for startups is the time that a business requires from you, especially in the beginning. Depending on the type of business you have their may or may not be something you can share the load with through other employees or contractors. It’s important to realise if you have an online business especially that a website is never finished. You will always be working on it, changing things, adding things etc so don’t get caught up trying to get it finished.
- Hiring the best. As a business owner you are an expert in your particular field. You cant be the bookeeper and accountant, sales person, lawyer and marketing arm of your business all at once. Well you can but you will burn out pretty quickly! The point here is to invest in professionals for the appropriate things your business needs, let your bookeeper do the work, have your lawyer right your legals etc.
If you are palnning to launch your business and would like to chat about the things you need to get up and running, call us on 02 8006 3402 to book your free consultation and meeting with the team!