Going into business is among the biggest decisions you’ll make in your life, right up there with buying your first property and getting married. Not having the experience of what it means to “go onto business” before, it’s all new and it is natural to have lots of questions.
In this article, we break the process of “going into business” into simple steps, designed to improve your chances of success by minimising the downside and providing flexibility for the upside, if things go well.
The sad truth is that a large majority of business started today, will not be in existence in 7 years time.
We have put together a proven strategy of 10 steps, each with its own set of questions that you must answer before embarking on this journey. Coming up with the answers, will give you a clear advantage and improve your chances of being amongst the businesses that not only survive, but go on to thrive.
The 10-step Startup Success Strategy
Look at the “end game”. Is your aim to be an industry leader in a new industry? Do you want to become a disruptor? Or, are you a sizeable growing business in an established industry?
Are you perhaps aiming to create a name for yourself in a niche market or is your aim just to “buy a job”?
All are worthy and as you can see, there are extremes at each end. At one end, the startup is highly risky but offers massive potential returns. The other end is also not without risk and is infinitely more manageable; however, there is a limit to how many hours one personal can work in a week.
Are you looking to utilise your skills and resources, or are you looking to leverage from them? In other words, are you looking to be the best expert in your business or is your plan to be the owner of a business that employs the best experts?
Again, there are good business models for each but it is important to understand where you fit and which model to choose.
Are you offering anything unique and if so, what is it? What is it that will make people choose your product over something that is already available and familiar to them? Hint: think of the 4 Ps – Place, Produce, Price and Process
How are people going to find out about your business? Do you know your clients or do you need to find them?
Do you require registrations, licenses, indemnity or other insurances to do what you want to do? What is the likelihood of something going wrong in your chosen industry and what is the likely severity of the consequences?
What are the Strengths and Weaknesses of your startup and how can you use or mitigate these? Hint: Look closely at you weaknesses as a great source of inspiration.
What Opportunities and Threats does the industry face and how can you capitalise on these?
Consider such examples as mail, telegram and fax vs email. The printing industry vs websites. Yellow pages vs Google and so on. Which example most closely resembles your startup? Many a disruptor was born from a “Threat”…
What return do you want from the startup, to make it worth your time and effort? And what will you be giving up to gain it?
Can your startup make money and if so, when? Do you have enough capital to sustain you, if things don’t go to plan? If you cannot show profitability in a spreadsheet, then it’s likely your business model will not work. It’s that simple.
Write it all down! Set up mechanisms to constantly measure your results and find someone to keep you accountable (your “Board of Directors”).
What we have found at Fraser Scott & Co, is that most entrepreneurs considering a startup…
- Know this information but unfortunately, it’s in the entrepreneur’s head and this makes the vision more difficult to share and use to motivate others on your journey.
- Understand the critical necessity of working through these issues, however, their personality on the whole, is that they would “much rather get on with it” than get bogged down in masses of detail.
- Can afford to spend about 4-8 hours a month on this.
Ultimately, knowing what to do is important; implementing it is a whole other challenge.
If you feel you need our advice on any of these steps, don’t hesitate to call for a confidential discussion.
If you really want to hit the ground running, we have put our very own “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis” to work, by creating the Structured Business Development Program for busy startup entrepreneurs.