Friday, 7 October 2016

The checklist for the 5 things you must do before starting your startup

A startup business is something that needs to be nurtured. Many startups fail in the first few years so it is really important to get things right from the start. It is all well and good to be excellent at what you do - but that does not make a business. For example, an excellent solicitor also needs to be an excellent marketer, account keeper, customer liaison and other things as well. This all takes planning, time and help. Here is my checklist for the 5 things you must do before starting your startup-

5 - Think about scaling up before you start
It's a nice problem to have but scaling up causes many issues for a startup. It is all about planning. ahead. You want the business to be a success so at some stage you will need to move to the next level. Too many people leave it too late. They get to the point where they can't cope any more and it all unravels. Think about this before you even start and get a basic plan in place for what point you need to look to scale up and what you will do about it.

4 -Do your research
Generally you should know as much as you can about your market. You should know who your competitors are, what they do well and where they can be beaten. Market research and really understanding your rivals and your customers is crucial to be able to compete as a startup. You just have to know what is going on. The classic SWOT analysis is a great place tio start as long as you fill it with information and look into all angles.

3 - Put together a business plan - get help if you need it
I am amazed by the number of small businesses I speak to that do not have a business plan. They just start off doing something and see how it grows from there. This is not the way to do business. You need to know what your startup plans are and how you will follow them through. A business plan needs to contain things such as-

  • Projected income
  • Expenditure
  • How many new customers you need
  • Where you will find them
  • How much it will cost to attract them

You must have a solid idea of how your business will grow, what you need to do to make it grow and how much all of that will cost. Startup business fails because it doesn't know what it wants to be, and the steps it must take to get there. Get help from a professional if you need it.

2 - Decide if you need to recruit
Many startups fail because they don't have the required number of people in the business, and they are not of the required quality. As a startup entrepreneur it is tempting to err on the side of caution and try to save costs by not recruiting and trying to do it all yourself. This can be a big mistake. Having the right team members in the right places will free you up to do what you are great at. You don't want to spend your timer completing admin and answering email inquiries if you are the skilled person that delivers the income. Think about the support you will need and how you will get it.

1 - Think about the money
The top thing on anyone's startup checklist should be the money. A startup business will have more costs at the beginning of their life and a lower level of income. So you need cash to make those purchases you need and to sustain your business and your family through the first few months of business life. Be conservative when it comes to predicting income on your business plan. Think about how much you have in cash reserves to sustain yourself. Then add a buffer of around 50% so you know that you are covered.

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