Many of us dream about being independent, having our own business and being in charge. Sometimes it is because we think we can do it better. We might want flexibility in our work day. There might be an opportunity to introduce a new product or service to our community. Or, it might be that we have difficulty working for others and need to be in control.
Whatever your reason for starting the new venture, having a plan backed by solid research is essential. The majority of small businesses fail within the first three years of operation. Many fail because they do not have money set aside to provide living expenses for at least six months and they are drawing income from the business before it is well-established. Some fail as they have not done adequate market research to determine if there are enough potential clients to support the business. Still others have had no experience in the particular business they have opened.
Writing a business plan can alleviate future problems for you. It is essential if you are going to the bank for financing for the business but more than that, it will give you the confidence that the business venture is viable. It also makes the business ‘real’ if it is published and in front of you.
A key ingredient in the business plan is the marketing plan. The steps to starting the business are;
- Determine your financial needs – what do you need for start-up? What do you need to maintain the business on a monthly basis, and what do you need for personal expenses?
- Determine the geographic area you wish to serve – Are there enough potential customers or clients in that market area to sustain the business?
- Do the market research:
- Product/Service – What is your product or service and why will the customer/client purchase it?
- Customer/Client – Who is the target market?
- Location – What are the benefits for both your customer/client and you of your location?
- Pricing – Where are you in the market and how did you establish it?
- Promotion – How will you reach your intended target market?
- Develop a marketing plan.
- Develop a business plan.
- Identify personal resources – What do you bring to the table in the way of finances, knowledge, and assets?
- Obtain financing – I you need financing for the business this would be the opportunity to approach your funding source.
- Obtain equipment or inventory and do any necessary renovations.
- Set up bookkeeping system – as necessary meet with accountant/bookkeeper.
- You are now ready to produce your product or start your service.
Starting your own business can be very rewarding but it is a risk and it will be time-consuming, especially in the beginning. There are many resources available to you and local organizations such as Community Futures and BDC are there to offer support. You may qualify for a self-employment program through your local WorkBC Employment Centre.
Take advantage of these resources and create a successful future for yourself. Remember that if you fail to plan your business, you are potentially setting yourself up to fail in business.
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