Launching a business in today’s economic market can prove to be very tough. Here are 5 tips that can help you get established.
1. Plan your Product or Service
When launching, or contemplating launching, any new business start-up, planning is one of the most integral stages for the idea to really take off. By this stage you should already have your product or service figured out. Now it’s time to form a plan of attack to insure its successful launch and continued success in the market place.
One of the more classic ways of planning starts is with the writing of a business plan. Now no longer are business plans require to be 10-20 endless pages of relevant but not necessary information. Some business plans can be as little as just a few pages, as long as it outlines the businesses goals and strategy, you’re pretty much sorted. I would recommend incorporating tips 2 & 4 into your business plan to give it some solid standing.
2. Research the Market Place
For me this next step is one of the most fundamental to ensure your business idea takes off. In this day and age research is key as the market place is ever changing. Yesterday’s ideas are being built upon and re-invented as the world pushes forward. With this in mind you need to look at existing ideas similar to yours. ‘Who will be your competition?’, ‘How are they successful? ‘And ‘What were their failures?’. These questions are all key if you want to become a strong influence in the market and not just a little fish in a big pond.
Another key point is to look at what you’re going to do to set yourself apart from everyone else. Start to visualise why people will choose you over existing products or services. If you don’t do research your idea is likely to fail due to poor planning and lack of market place knowledge, however once you feel you are up to speed tip 3 is a good point to try next.
3. Test the Water
Once you’ve researched the market place, the next step is to test the water. This is called test marketing. This basically means to put your idea out there and see how many nibbles you get. How many people are interested in what you have to offer and so on?
This can be done in several ways but one of the most common is to offer your product on a pre-order basis. If 200 people pre-order in a day it’s safe to say you have a good idea, but if only 1 person does in a week you know you need to work on you marketing or your idea itself.
Strategies like this can really help you to get a good grounding in the market. Once you’re happy enough your idea will take off you can move on to the launch and all the aspects involved.
4. Cash Flow the Launch
This its self is a form of planning, and one I’ve always found to be very useful. What this basically does is allow you to look at all the costs incurred in launching your business. It may take you a while before you start to see any real profit so knowing the up-front out goings will help you to plan funds and insure you don’t go under before its even began.
Let’s say you want to open a shop that sells designer clothes in your area. You’ve done all your research and feel ready to launch but you’re not sure how much it’s going to take to get started. Knowing your cash flow is now key. You will begin to build your up-front & recurring costs to see your overall outlay. In this you need you include ground rents of the shop, staff cost if any, stock purchase costs and any other costs you feel will affect the business. It’s also key to you insure an area of contingency should stock get damaged or the roof falls in. It’s also good to assume you won’t make a sale straight way and build this cost in also. Now this is very unlikely, unless you’re hidden away in the wrong area of town due to poor research, but it’s better to be safe than sorry, so id recommend building it in. Imagine after all this you work out you would need £25k to launch, market your business and be in business for at least 3 months without a sale. You now know your start-up cost and can begin to source the relevant funding if required.
5. Move With the People
Once you’re launched and business is going good it’s always good to look at ways to improve your product or service. Chances are you’ll have to modify away from the original ideas as your business grows and develops. It’s key to keep conducting market research and to adjust your business accordingly. The market won’t wait for you to catch up so always try to stay with it if not ahead of it. And remember, “A product is no longer what we tell the people it is, rather it’s what the people tell each other it is.”
Good luck and let me know how you get on with any business start-ups this year in the comments below. If you need further advice feel free to drop me an email via the contact page.