Congratulations, you’re considering starting a new company to pursue your dreams and ambitions. Kudos to you!
As entrepreneurs, we all have different experiences. The blueprint for one small business won’t necessarily work for another, but some elements of starting up will always be true. Here are the top 10 things to consider when starting your new business:
Find an idea
The general rule of thumb is to follow your passion and focus on what gets you out of bed in the morning. It’s perfectly fine if your main motivation for starting a business is financial independence, but you need an idea that you can stick by and stay motivated when the times get tough. Follow your dreams and passion, and financial independence will follow!
Have a general idea? Great start! Now your goal is to identify the feasibility of your new business. Answer key questions about the market you plan to approach, who your target customers are, and the competitive landscape in this market. This is art and science together, so focus on both quantitative and qualitative indicators.
Make sure you’re not in violation of any existing trademarks, patents, or any other intellectual property rights. You can go as deep as hiring a lawyer to do patents and trademark searches for your new business, or you can do the preliminary search yourself. Any red flags will become obvious in this stage.
Yes, every business needs a plan. What goes into your initial plan? Start with your strategic goals, your vision, and define how the world would benefit from your innovation. Then, what is your goal for the foreseeable future? (The next 12 months is a good starting point!) Write down the key resources you need to attain this goal.
Build your team
Every business needs employees that can service customers and help grow the business. What are your hiring plans? What kind of skillsets will you need? And at what point will you need them? For example, if your new business is a software company you would need software engineers, product designers, product managers, and so on. Your initial focus should be on supplementing your own skillset in the early stages of your company. Later on, hire the needed business functions as you grow your team.
Find advisors and service providers
Every business needs advisors and service providers. For example, a lawyer and an accountant will create your new company and help ensure proper corporate governance and compliance with local regulations. Hire advisors with skills that would complement yours. If you need assistance with raising capital, bring an advisor that can coach you through that topic.
Ready to get started? You need to formally register your new business with the authorities. There are many types of corporations with various legal implications on your taxes and normal course of business, so make sure you consult with your advisors on the right legal structure for your business.
What are your capital requirements to get your new business off the ground? Some businesses are capital intensive and require an upfront investment in facilities or inventories, whereas others can get off the ground with little to no upfront capital (for example, a consulting business or a tutor). Consider your capital plans ahead of time so you can have multiple options to get started.
Now we get to the meat and potatoes of running a business. It’s all about the execution that separates success from failure. How are you servicing your customers, supporting your team, and what values and culture do you bring to your business every day? Focus on making your customers successful and helping your employees grow and build their career paths. Those two foundational pieces will put your business on a great starting path.
Review and adjust
No plan will be perfect and market conditions will change over time. Make sure you’re constantly reviewing your progress and business performance. Keep adjusting it to drive more efficiency. Fine-tuning your new business is an ongoing process that leads to better results, and that’s what we’re all about.