Starting and running a successful company is one of the most difficult things to do in life. But if you can pull it off, it can be one of the most rewarding experiences you'll ever have. Before you take the dive there are a few points you should consider. Innovate UK has put together some essential tips to take heed of before starting your journey into business, along with short video with even more startup insights.
Ask Tricky Questions
Before you begin to push forward with your idea, you need to take a moment and ask yourself a few important questions. Asking your family about your product or service is good initially but it’s unlikely they’ll give you an answer that hasn’t been clouded by bias. Ask yourself whether there is there a need or problem that is resolved by your product/service? Will your company disrupt the current market? How do you plan on actually monetising your idea? Can you identify something that sets you apart from the crowd? If you can’t put your finger on at least one USP then you may not be looking at something that’s viable.
Research Your Opportunity
So you’ve got the product or service sorted, now you need to know your market. Take some time to consider and research the opportunity you have. Deliberate on the niche and demographic that you’re looking to approach, will they actually pay for what you’re offering? Study the competition, see what makes them tick, what makes them successful and whether you can overcome them. Is there the potential for non-direct competition entering the market and offering something disruptive? If this is the case, you should take this into serious consideration. When looking at your competition, you should take some time to look over your price points and how they sit in comparison. Also think about your market on the whole, is it in growth or decline? Has anyone else spotted your opportunity?
Assemble Your Team
Assess the needs of your business. There may come a time when you need to pick a company structure, whether you opt for a co-founder, employees or outsourcing really depends on your requirements and financial plan (more about that next). You need to be able to trust your choice of assistance to execute your business plan perfectly. Look for malleable, ambitious and competent individuals who can truly offer something to your company.
Plan Your Finances
This final point is crucial – a lack of money is the main cause of start-up failure. Draw up a long term financial plan that incorporates staff and manufacture costs, to avoid any nasty surprises. This will tell you how long your initial money will last, when you’ll need to seek further investment and when you should expect to start making money. Plans like this are always worth looking at with a critical and pessimistic eye. Be realistic about demand and never guess at figures. Always remember that revenue is not profit.