Stuck in a monotonous 9 till 5 role, with no prospects for advancement? Think you can earn more money and get more fulfilment working for yourself? Got an eye for profit or a particularly ground-breaking idea that you feel will fill a gap in the market? Then starting-up a business might be logical for you.
The following four-step plan will help you plot your course towards success in the business world.
Step 1: Identify and develop an idea
The most successful businesses are those founded on the principle of innovation – think Apple, Ford Motors and Facebook; these companies pioneered previously uncharted frontiers in the delivery of their products and services. To get off the ground, your business will need to operate on a unique and exciting new idea, or at least implement an original take on an old one.
If you don’t already have an idea or ideas in your head to play with, get some inspiration by exploring the web and researching previous successful business ideas, and finding hints and tips on innovative thinking from established business owners.
Mike Pursey at www.michaelpursey.co.uk, an internet businessman agrees, saying: “Think about problems encountered in everyday modern life, and contemplate ways in which these could be solved. Look at other businesses in generic categories and identify elements in which you feel these are lacking or could be improved upon.”
Alternatively, if you’re short on your own ideas, you could always buy an existing business or invest in a franchise, although doing this should not be considered a shortcut to success, as you will need to carefully research the business, its history and its potential for the future, as well as no doubt introducing some of your own ideas and methods to help it grow.
Step 2: Formulate a business plan
The second principle driving good business practice is excellent planning, and so once you’ve firmed up your initial idea, you’ll need to set about developing a detailed business plan.
Your business plan should be founded on intense market and customer research – identify your competitors and evaluate their operations, and speak to potential customers in order to get feedback and extra ideas and opinions on your business. Then, plot out your business from the start-up stage through to the point in which it has developed into an established operation.
Work out the logistics, identify suppliers and potential partners, and create a projection of your company’s financial development.
Don’t be afraid to go back and revise your business plan when you encounter hiccups or problems – fluidity and flexibility are as important as rigorous planning.
Step 3: Get all the help you can
Whether financial or educational, getting additional support when beginning your new enterprise could be crucial. If you’re in need of financial assistance, firstly see what national start-up grants you may be eligible for, and then get in touch with the bank.
You’ll need to convincingly present your business plan to get funding, so be ready to persuade. It might also be prudent to seek out any available non-financial support and advice that might help you navigate your way to success.
Step 4: Persevere!
Running a business is hard work and can be wrought with stress and emotional ups and downs. Remember, challenges are inevitable and are there to be overcome. So whatever happens, keep going and don’t give up on your dream!
Wendy Lin is a successful businesswoman and entrepreneur. She started her first company out of high school and is now the CEO of 2 companies based out of LA.