Starting up a business is a real challenge and not everyone is capable of it. If you’re reading this, however, you must be considering it. Do you have the discipline, the humility, the self-confidence, the optimism and the grit? Are you prepared to research and shop around for cheap office supplies and business insurance? Yes? That’s great, but you also need some good old fashioned advice, so eyes down and read on.
Come up with an idea
You need a concept – be it for a service or a product – that will sell, and sell enough to make you a living. This can be the toughest part, but you should look at your experience, your skills and your knowledge into service here. Think about the areas you already know well and that you have the equipment for and the contacts in. This will give you an early boost and reduce your initial costs.
Ask the family
Ask your family how they feel about you quitting your job and working from home – this decision involves everyone. If they’re worried, look at their concerns and decide whether you can address them – it may be that the potential gains are worth a period of instability or adjustment.
Don’t lose sight of the fact that our home is primarily a dwelling – not a workshop or conference hall. If your work will be mainly IT-based, make sure you have all the necessary tech and knowledge to fix things if they go wrong. You also need your own area to work where you won’t be disturbed.
You must have a business plan
One of the main reasons many new businesses fail is because of poor planning. You really need a business plan if you’re working on a start-up. Not only does the business plan give you a road map, it gives your bank and other investors an idea of who you are, what you’re about and how worthy you are of their investment.
You should have a mission statement, an executive summary, your offerings, your target market as well as your marketing plan and an industry analysis (including looking at your competitors). You’ll also need you current financials and any other information that your investors ask for.
You’ll almost certainly need a start-up fund. You should aim to break even after a year or so, but some businesses take longer and you need to be ready for that. Funding could come in the form of a small business loan from your bank, or from crowdfunding, savings, a part-time job, family and (as a last resort) your credit card.
Budget, budget, budget
Quite simply, if you don’t have a budget, your business runs the risk of spending more money than it’s earning, or of not ploughing enough money back into itself to grow and stay competitive. There are many ways you can plan your budget – you can look at industry standards for spending, or make sure you have a cushion of savings or funding you can draw on. You can also look at your spending every couple of months and switch suppliers if you find better deals.