If you have always had the ambition to start a new business, there is no time like the present to kickstart your new venture and fulfill your dreams of becoming a successful entrepreneur. Unfortunately, in recent times as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses across the globe have faced extreme difficulty in keeping their company’s afloat amid the health crisis. However, now would be the time to start building your business venture from scratch and put strategies in place to guarantee the success of your company. This guide will give you some key information on how to turn your ambitions of starting a business into a reality – from gaining an online MBA to building a successful team:
Think carefully about your business idea
Before embarking on your business venture, there’s a good chance that you already have an idea in mind of what you’d like to sell; or at the very least, the industry you wish to get into. However, succeeding in business is much more difficult than you may have imagined and takes a great deal of time and effort to succeed. Quite simply, your idea needs to be unique and set your business apart from others in the same market. With this in mind, you’ll need to carry out a great deal of research to find out what other brands have accomplished and what you could do better to secure a larger amount of custom than your competitors. If you believe that your business idea can deliver something that other businesses don’t, you ultimately have an idea that has the ability to take off, and therefore, it’s time to start writing your business plan to get your new venture off the ground.
One of the most important tips to take on board is that you need to be clear on your business idea in order for it to prove successful. If you’re not passionate about the concept or don’t have an understanding of how it could potentially go from strength to strength, you’re already fighting a losing battle. Running a business is almost a 24-hour job in the set-up phase, so if you just haven’t got the motivation and drive to see it through, it will fail at the first hurdle. If this is the case, dedicate a bit of extra time to consider other ideas that you’d be excited to start a business in.
If you’re not creative in coming up with a new idea, you’ll be pleased to know that you don’t necessarily have to come up with your own idea in order to start a business. There is also the option of running a franchise that enables you to become self-employed and manage an already-established business. Unlike setting up your own business from scratch, a franchise already has a business model and branding in place, so all of the hard work is essentially taken off your shoulders in the early stages. It is, however, down to you to find a suitable location where you’re confident you’ll be able to find a target customers and of course, getting your hands on the relevant funding to become a franchisee.
Understand your target audience
It would not be advisable to set your heart on a business idea if you haven’t thought carefully about who your target audience is for the concept. Assess the current market for similar products and services in your desired niche and who the brand is typically targeting, In doing so, this will give you a clearer idea on the audience you should be gearing your idea towards and who is most likely to buy your product.
You may also like to research competitors in your desired field to gain a clearer insight into how your business would theoretically perform if it were to launch. Spend time browsing competitor websites, their social media platforms and other marketing strategies to help you color in the blanks of what needs to be achieved in order to succeed in this specific area of business.
Write a business plan
Once you have an idea in place, the next phase is to write a business plan. This is a document that defines your business model and outlines the goals, types of strategies to be used, marketing concepts and a financial plan.
Many mistakes are made by entrepreneurs in the early stages of setting up a business, however, a business plan will help you iron out any potential problems and clarify your goals both for the short term and the long term.
If you’re relying on funding from investors or a loan from the bank, a business plan is crucial. By taking a look through your business plan, lenders will make a decision as to whether to invest in your business based on how well-thought-out your plan is. Essentially, it is your job to prove that there is a gap in the market and a huge demand for your business idea to convince lenders and investors that they should have the utmost confidence in you and part with their money.
Start your business while you’re still employed
It wouldn’t be a feasible idea to walk out of your full-time job and build a business from scratch as it can take years for a business to become profitable. Think about how long you can realistically live without money – if it is only a few months, it just wouldn’t be a good idea to walk out of your job and rely on the business taking off in a matter of weeks. Being employed while running your business on the side means you have enough cash to make those all-important early investments, as well as ensuring you have enough money to live off in your day-to-day personal life.
While it’s not compulsory for entrepreneurs to have a degree under their belt in order to run a profitable business, having this level of education will certainly provide you with useful theories and skills to guarantee success from the get-go. An online MBA will allow you to develop your career as a professional in the field and understand how to take your business to the next level. Some of the main benefits of studying an online MBA are the ability to develop your skills, develop expert knowledge, enhance your decision-making process and utilize logical thinking- to name just a few. It would be best to enroll on an online MBA as soon as you are considering setting up your own business to ensure you make minimal mistakes in the very early days.
An online MBA can be taken around your personal commitments without the need to physically attend lectures or meet up with your tutors. Therefore, if you’re planning on staying in a full-time job or are a parent and find it difficult to commit to certain schedules for studying, an online MBA would offer you the flexibility you need to complete your studies.
Don’t do it without support
Regardless of how experienced you may be in business, it’s essential to have a reliable support system around you that you can call on for a helping hand – even if it is just a catch up with a friend or family member on the odd occasion to chat about your ideas and plans for feedback. A brief conversation with someone may help you brainstorm new concepts that you may never have thought about before, as well as gaining an outsider’s perspective on whether your business model is attractive to a potential customer.
It would also be a good idea to find a mentor who’s established within the industry you’re hoping to break into, to give you the relevant help and advice needed for running a successful business. Mentors are individuals who have been in the industry for many years, are potentially trained to an online MBA level and understand how the nature of the industry has changed over the years and the developments which lie ahead. Having been in your position previously, they may be able to offer you some direction on how to stabilize your business and provide other valuable hints that they have learned along the way to keep their business afloat.
Even when your business is going in the right direction, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re unsure about anything. Tackling these problems as soon as they arise will help iron out issues immediately and prevent disastrous consequences from occurring later on down the line. Asking those tough questions, regardless of how simple or insignificant you may believe they are, could make the difference between business failure and success.
One of the biggest mistakes that any new business owners make is unintentionally procrastinating. Many people in the industry may advise you to not move ahead with your business until you have every last element in place. However, it is not only unrealistic to make such assumptions, but may also lead to delays that could make you lose momentum. While a great deal of research needs to be undertaken to plan your marketing and finances, for example, it wouldn’t be a good idea to wait until you have everything set in stone to start moving your business to the next level.
Build your team
In the early stages of setting up a business, it’s unlikely you’ll need to hire a full team to start the business rolling. Many small start-ups are simply run single-handedly from their owner’s home to build on their finances before moving to larger premises and building a workforce. However, this, of course, all depends on your business niche.
When the time comes to start the hiring process, you need to ensure you have thought carefully about each role you are filling. A job analysis will need to be carried out to ensure you are fully aware of the duties and responsibilities that you’ll require the new employee to take up, before writing up a job advertisement.
To help you write a clear and concise job advertisement, it would be advisable to jot down a checklist to ensure you have listed all of the key components of the role, as well as the personality traits and skills you’re looking for in each candidate. For example, an online MBA would be a strong element in resumes to look out for, as it shows that the candidate has a clear interest in business and understands each individual strand of what it takes to run and work for a successful company.
The job interview is the next crucial factor in ensuring you hire the very best of the short-listed candidates. The type of questions you ask will lead candidates down certain routes and will help you gain a clearer understanding of their past experiences and goals, while the answers provided will help you distinguish poor candidates from fantastic candidates and allow you to make a well-informed decision.
Also, ensure you take the opportunity to check references before hiring an employee. There would be nothing worse than failing to do all the necessary background checks and finding out that the person you have hired has an active criminal record. This is especially important if the job is in the education or care sectors. References should be only given by candidates’ previous employers or educational members of staff.
While you may have big ambitions to grow your business quickly, it wouldn’t be advisable to do so when first starting out. It is far too risky to put all of your eggs in one basket initially, especially when finances may be tight or you’re unsure of how your business venture will plan out. An online MBA will give you the tools to understand how to take controlled risks that are much more likely to lead to success, rather than relying on random risks that could put your entire business in jeopardy. Experiment with ideas on a small scale initially so you understand what could go wrong before fully committing to the risk.