How do I start and then stay in business?
Starting a business is one of the most exciting journeys an individual or group of individuals may embark upon. Yet it can be daunting as for many it is a journey into the unknown. The key to any journey is to map out the best route to get to your destination and setting up a new business should be no different.
Before starting a new business there are many important questions one should ask. Put simply two of the most important ones should be:
• “Is the business idea a really good, viable one”?
• “Do I/we have sufficient expertise, resources & funds to build it and achieve the end goals
All sounds very simple and basic but it is amazing how many new business owners get caught up in their enthusiasm to start a new business. They do not seriously considered these questions, particularly if this is their first business. Many have found that a good product or service does not always manifest itself into automatically making a good business and it is very important to establish:
• Will there really be a demand in the marketplace for the product and service and can you provide evidence to back this?
- What and who are the competition?
- What are your Unique Selling Points [USP’s] and why are they better than your competition?
• Have you prepared a ‘route map’ by way of a robust business plan to explain the proposed development of the business?
- This should be a must for any new business before setting out on its journey.
- It is the document that not only demonstrates that the business knows where it is setting out to go to, but how it plans to get there
• A robust business plan should include at least two to three years financial forecasts including Profit and Loss, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow details
- What will it cost to set up the business?
- What are the on-going operating costs?
- When will breakeven point be reached?
• A marketing plan indicating the proposals in respect of promoting this new business?
- Who will actually carry out the promotion?
- Will it be necessary to use an outside promotional source? If so at what cost?
• How will you deal with the accounts, book keeping and credit control etc.?
• How much funding is required to support the business plan and has such funding been secured?
- The biggest mistake new business make is not having sufficient funding to see through their plans from the outset often just relying on initial funding from ‘Friends & Family’.
- Whilst all the funding does not always have to be in place at the start it is important to understand the realistic chances of raising additional funding at the required stages along the journey.
Even for well established businesses ‘Cash is King’ and inadequate working capital leads to the downfall of many businesses whilst it is rare to see a business fail with loads of money in the bank
These are some examples of the questions that need to be considered when considering setting out to establish a start-up business.
The journey setting up a new business is not one that you must plan alone. In many cases it can be beneficial to seek good professional advice; but do it sooner rather than later!
‘Professional advice is very rarely more expensive than not taking Professional advice’If you would like to discuss your new business journey then call us at iBOSS as we will be able to point you in the right direction.
Staying in Business
Having set out on your new business journey it is important to continually monitor progress to ensure that you remain on course. There will undoubtedly be obstacles that crop up and the ability to recognise these challenges quickly, address them and get back on track can be vital
Challenges will be many and varied and could include:
• Are we maintaining our competitiveness both in terms of product, pricing and promotion?
• Are our systems up to date, using the latest technology?
• Do we have the right staff with the necessary levels of training?
• How is our cashflow holding up?
• Are the business plan and financial projections being followed and still presenting the right route or are there alternative options now presenting themselves that could help with the journey to success?
• Are we getting into difficulties and, if so, do we know why and what to do about it?”
These are all questions that need to be considered by the management of any established business, whether large or small. The problem is sometimes, for a small business, where demands on time and resources can be very heavy, the management may not have the ability to monitor and respond to all of the challenges as they arise. This is when things can get out of hand and the business will go ‘off piste’.
Do not be afraid (or too proud) to seek support from experienced professionals to help you on your new business journey and do not assume that you cannot afford to engage such support.
Good & timely professional support can help keep the business on track and save significant time, money and heartache! All too often we have been approached by the management of SME’s who have left it until the last minute to seek help. Sadly, in some of those cases, following a careful review of the business, it becomes apparent that it is too late the get the business back on track. Failure is often the resultant outcome. The one phrase we hate to hear at iBOSS is “If only I had spoken to you sooner!”
Whether you are thinking about starting a new business journey or you need help to get an existing business back on track, call us at iBOSS. For those who need regular support, we also provide a business mentoring service. The level of involvement expected of us in this regard is up to the client. Our fees will, at all times, be reasonable and will reflect that level of involvement.
For a detailed discussion call us on 07876 503830 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here to help you to achieve your business journey.