Preparing yourself for ‘going into business’ is all about having an idea, researching the idea and drawing up a business plan. Getting this right is vital for your future small business success.
- The Business Idea
Most people go into business with as little as a few thousand dollars. Some start with less than $500. Many businesses start out as a hobby and most begin part time before quitting their job when it becomes apparent that they can make a living out of doing something that they love. Others feel that they don’t like working for someone else and decide to go it alone. Some people just need a ‘sea change’.
You may be bored with your job, looking for a new challenge or you may have identified an opportunity that suits your skills and captures your imagination. You may have identified a gap in the market and feel that the timing is right. People start businesses for all sorts of reasons. Some need to earn extra money. Others want to be their own boss or to build a lifestyle by working flexible hours. For example, I like to run and I work my own hours. What do you like to do?
Whatever your situation, you need to consider –
- what you want to do
- why you want to do it
- how will it make you feel
Is this business something that you really want to do? Ask yourself “Why is it important to me?” You must be able to answer this question. Does it excite you? If not, you may be better off looking elsewhere.
If you don’t have a strong enough ‘Why’, your chances of long term success can reduce dramatically. What will drive you to succeed in your own business? What will get you out of bed each day with a spring in your step? Is it the lifestyle, the money, the self satisfaction, the extra time with the family, the product or service? If there is a driving force, the things you need to succeed will just arrive. The right people, the right ideas and the right resources with come to you effortlessly.
Remember that it may feel right for you today, but how will you feel about it in 12 months from now? These are important questions that you need to answer before you get started.
- Researching the idea and the market
The internet is a wonderful business tool. We can access everything from Government statistics to articles, forums and websites on specialist subjects. All Governments these days have a Statistics Department where you can learn an enormous amount of detail about your potential market.
Demographics can tell you a lot about local and international markets. You can find out where your potential customers live, their age, marital status, occupation, income, children, home owners etc.
Social Media platforms can help you to communicate and engage with your prospective markets. Start by asking your Facebook and Twitter friends what they think of your business idea. Set up an online Survey and ask 3 to 5 relevant questions about your business. This is a great way to find out if you may be onto a winner.
Make sure you attend business networking groups. These can be a lot of fun and they allow you to connect with business people all across Australia and internationally.
- Creating a Business Plan
A good Business Plan needs to have a Vision, a Mission Statement, Financial Goals and Objectives and an Action Plan. Without these features it is just a Wish, not a Plan. Make it succinct, understandable and believable.
How important is a Business Plan?
A Business Plan is vital to forecast the path of the business. It helps to determine if you have a financially viable business. It will also help you to keep
track of your results, and to see if you are on target. If you need to borrow money to set up or to expand the business, your Bank Manager will ask to see your Business Plan.
A written Business Plan works because it makes you focus on what you want from your business and what your customers want from you. When you give your customers what they want, they keep buying from you. It’s as simple as that!
The author, John Kirk, is a Small Business Trainer, Mentor, Public Speaker and former Financial Advisor. John teaches Micro Business Management at Illawarra ITeC, one of the largest Training Organisations south of Sydney, Australia. In addition, he regularly conducts workshops and seminars focusing on cashflow, budgeting, marketing, networking and the business mindset for small business owners.