Things Worth Knowing Before You Start a Business

Here's what you need to start a business and grow itIf you are planning to start a business, then let me congratulate you. Because there are many who have been planning to do something on their own for years, and the plan is still in the making. I have started a couple of businesses in the past and have helped a few of my friends set up their own ventures. And from my personal experience I can tell you that starting a business is easy, but running a business successfully is a different game altogether.

Whether you have decided to start a business or you are just planning and looking to start a business in the near future, there are a few essential things worth knowing to start a business and grow it successfully. And that’s what we are going to discuss in this post.

All you need to know before starting a business

I meet lots of folks who are into 9 to 5 jobs but looking for ideas to start a business of their own. There are many who are just searching for a million-dollar idea and there are others who think they have got the idea that can make them a big success in not time. I have even met people who want to start a website like Facebook but exclusively for those who want to discuss politics.

And most of them think that it’s the business idea that does the wonder. This may be true to some extent, but there are many other factors which matter. Just a million-dollar idea will take you nowhere. From execution to timing, team to financing, there are many more unpredictable factors that will come into play.

Give it a serious thought, plan everything properly, do adequate research and know what you plan to do and why. And when you do that kind of homework, chances of success may increase.

If you are among those who want to start a business and wondering where to start and how to get it right, then this is the post you should not be missing.

All set? Let’s dive in.

Million-dollar business idea

I often write on Quora and as you know, Quora is a great platform to get expert answers on almost anything on this earth. Often people request answers to questions related to business ideas, like;

  1. What business can I start with a capital of INR 100000 to INR 500000?
  2. What is the best business idea that requires less investment?
  3. What is the best business idea to start in CITY NAME

The point I am trying to make is, there are many who are looking for business ideas. But ideally, the best business ideas are those that you find on your own.

Look around, observe things, and find solutions to problems your friend or a family member has, and you may get an innovative business idea. And the best way to find such an idea is to be a little curious, interactive and innovative.

Best ideas are those that save time, improve efficiency, improve life and are something that people can’t do without.

Like the IRCTC ticket booking, no matter how frustrated you are with their server speed, you can’t do without it and it’s still better than the counter booking.

Think. Think. Think and you may find a problem which is worth solving.

Research and validate your business idea

Finding a great business idea is difficult. But if you have one, you need to validate the idea to be sure that it’s worth pursuing. You should not be sure based on assumption, rather gather facts to support the claim.

Do as much research as you can and it may require you to;

  • Meet potential users/buyers
  • Take their opinion
  • Gather suggestions and feedback
  • Gauge if they would use
  • Are they going to pay? If yes how much?
  • Are they willing to buy or pay in advance?
  • Gather opinions and feedback from all the stakeholders (users, customers, potential customers etc.)

And when you have the facts and data to prove that there is a market big enough and there are users who wish to use your product and service and wish to pay for the same, you know you have an idea worth pursuing.

Make a business plan

You need a plan for any project and definitely need to have one for your business. Without a proper plan, you may find yourself lost, lost in the confusion and chaos. If you want to succeed, then a business plan can help you in many ways.

There are tons of templates available online, mostly to impress investors.

But what you need is a guide that you can use.

The goal is to plan everything that you can think of for your business. It’s not that the business plan is going to be perfect; in fact, you may have to tweak several things as you move forward, and that is fine. And it is better to have a roadmap than running wild.

Here are some of the questions you should answer in your business plan

  • What is the big idea?
  • What size of the market you are targeting?
  • Skills and team you need
  • Who are the potential customers and users?
  • Do you need test samples/ prototype products?
  • How do you plan to launch?
  • Who is to be targeted first?
  • Cost and time frame to launch the product?
  • Who will invest the initial money?
  • How long till break even?
  • Expense and revenue predictions in the next 6, 12, 18, 24 months?

These are some of the most essential questions you should address in your business plan.

Planning for next 6, 12, 18, 24 months

It takes lots of time and effort to build and grow a business. It’s not something that can be done overnight. You are going to face different challenges as you move forward.

A friend of mine always says, that if you sustain your business for three consecutive years, chances are you are in the right business and you can figure out the growth from here onwards.

And I think he is right to a good extent.

It’s better to have monthly and quarterly business goals. However, having a goal for the next six months is great so that you can review every alternate quarter and make adjustments as needed.

Be honest with numbers and set a goal for the next 6 months to the next 24 months so you can review and act towards those numbers.

Company and tax registration

There are various types of options that you can choose from you may register as an LLP, Private Limited or even a one-man company.

Registering a company in India is still confusing, but you can find a consultant chartered accountant who can help you with legal matters like company registration and registration of taxes etc.

It’s better to know legal things upfront. If you make any mistake in tax and legal matters (even unintentionally) then you might face serious legal issues.

You better find a consultant and get all the legal paperwork sorted.

Investment and funding

Any business requires some investment. And depending on what you plan to do, you have to fund your business. Ideally, the owner and promoters have to invest the initial funds.

I am sure you have a plan in place and know what kind of investment will be required to build the product or start delivering services to initial customers.

Sometimes you may not have the money required and in such cases, you may have to look outside for investment.

Pursue your friends and family to invest and if nothing works, look for someone outside the family and try your luck.

Build a team

Obviously, you are setting up a business and you need helping hands. If you are all alone, then maybe you need a partner. So find one, who is convinced with your idea and shares the same vision.

Depending on the nature of the business, you may require people with specific technical and no technical skills. You also need team members to handle sales, marketing, customer support and accounting.

Think of a team you need and plan accordingly.

Sales and marketing

Sales and marketing have to be handled carefully. You have to ensure that your business is reaching the targeted audience.

Sales, branding and marketing strategies are essential to succeed in business. Depending on your product, you may choose to market your product or services online, offline or both. For instance, if you are planning to start a moving service business, you need to focus on the local neighbourhood that you will be serving. Once you get started and get a few early clients, you can spread your service area.

You may have an in-house team or partner with third-party companies and consultants.

Have a proper sales and marketing plan in place and allocate the required budget and resources for the same.

Keep walking

Apart from what we have already discussed above, I think the passion to make a dent in the universe is an essential ingredient. When you are starting a business, you are actually going to deal with a lot of uncertainties and challenges. No matter how prepared you are, you still may face challenges that you never thought about

Delayed payments from clients to websites running out of bandwidth; you have to deal with many uncertainties. And what drives you in such situations is your passion to make it big.

There will be many failures, and there will be situations where you may not see the road ahead, but if you keep walking, chances are you will reach where you wanted to reach.

So keep walking.

Over to you

Imagine, you are driving your car on a foggy morning, and all you can see in front of you is a few feet away from your windshield. The rest of the roads in front of you are in fog, and you cannot see them properly. How do you plan to drive the car?

It’s more or less the same in the business. You can’t predict things easily. You have to take chances and keep driving till the goal is reached. But when you have a plan in place, you will be able to deal with any situation much more efficiently. And that makes all the difference in business.

What else do you think one should know before starting a business, to run and grow it successfully?

Hope it helps you. To your success!!

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