Starting a business can be a rewarding and enriching experience. However, it might not be the right professional choice for you. Before making the leap, take a few minutes to find out whether the opportunities and challenges of entrepreneurship fit with your personality.
Try our online entrepreneur self-assessment.
Explore ideas and ask questions
You may be loaded with talent and itching to get your company started, but it’s important to take the time to think about how you will turn your idea into a successful business.
Is your idea original?
If you have a truly innovative idea, then you have to find out if it needs intellectual property protection to prevent it from being copied by others.
If your product or service isn’t original, then ask yourself how you’re going to go head-to-head with competitors. How will you differentiate your offering?
How will you make money with your product or service?
While you may think your product or service is amazing, you still have to find out who your target customers are and what your source of revenue will be.
Questions that you need to answer include:
- What is your target market?
- How much are your target clients willing to pay for your products?
- If your clients won’t pay for your products or services, do you have an alternative business model?
How will your product or service be delivered to market?
Will you be developing, producing, packaging, marketing and distributing your product or service? Or will you partner with other companies to bring it to market?
For first-time entrepreneurs, it can be daunting to master these steps. That’s why it might be best to start by focusing on the one thing that makes you stand out. You can then partner with other businesses to help you with non-core tasks.
You might, for example, choose to focus all your efforts on product design, but licence your product to a more established partner to manage its production and be responsible for marketing and distribution.
What resources do you need?
Once you’ve established what you’re going to do and how you want to do it, you’ll have to figure out how much it will cost.
You’ll want to establish how many employees you’ll need, your timeline to market launch as well as the one-time and recurrent costs you’ll have to pay. Make sure to include expenses for things like office space, office supplies and various insurance and benefits in your estimate.
Once you’ve answered these questions, outline your estimated projected income for your first year. Base this estimate on the size of your market, industry trends and your expected market share.
After you’ve answered all these questions, you’ll be well on your way to writing your first business plan, which you can use to attract investors and lenders.