Inspiration has struck. You’ve got a brilliant idea to start a new business, and it’s incredibly exciting. Where do you go from there? Read on for some ideas for what you can do to give your idea the best chance at success.
Stop…Are You Really Passionate About This?
There’s a lot of work and oftentimes heartache involved in starting a new business. It’s hard. Like, really hard. Before you go one step further, stop and evaluate whether this idea is really something that means something to you. Do you think you’ll still feel passionate about this idea when faced with hardship? Really think it through. While the idea of a potential payday is great, that payday is likely a long way down the road, so you’ve got to really believe in your idea or sticking to it may lead to nothing but misery.
Do Your Research
Depending on how familiar you are with the industry that will encompass your new idea, you’re likely going to need to do some serious research. You’ll likely want to start with researching the industry first, assuming you’re not entirely familiar with it already. Make sure you also put a little effort into finding out what will be required of you by federal and state law if you start a business.
Is Your Idea Genuinely Unique?
As you’re doing research on the industry, be sure to watch out for businesses that are similar in nature. You may find that the idea isn’t quite as unique as you thought, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not still a great idea. There’s a good chance there’s still room in the market for your version of the idea, whether it’s a local, brick-and-mortar store or a worldwide internet-based business.
What Would it Take to Pull it Off?
As you’re researching, you’ll need to figure out what it’s going to take to make your idea into a reality. Will you need help with development, manufacturing, or running the business? What kind of financing might be available to you? Begin to get familiar with your options for all these things.
Who is Going to Buy into Your Idea?
Where you go from the initial idea will likely be swayed a great deal by your potential customer base. Who do you think would patronize your business or buy the product you’ve thought up? It will help you get your idea off the ground if you can direct your strategies towards your target market.
Write a Business Plan
This is where you’ll give your idea a more formal structure. Writing a killer business plan will not only help you set up your new business’s framework. You’ll write up a plan that outlines not only the technical and financial aspects of your business, but also lays out why your business means something. It serves as a way to inspire everyone else who may need to come on board with your project in the same way that you were inspired.
If you don’t have any experience writing a business plan and/or you don’t feel comfortable going it alone, you may be able to hire a consultant or writer to help carry it off without a hitch.
Get the Cash You Need to Get Off the Ground
For most ideas, you’re going to need some capital to get started. You’ve ideally already determined how you’ll get that cash, but we’ll lay out some options for you here.
Out of Your Own Pocket
If you’ve got a way to pay to start your business with your own money, you might consider it. In the unlikely scenario that you’ve got the cash laying around to start a business, there’s always that option. Many people look to their home equity or retirement savings at this point but be sure you really think it through. There are plenty of benefits to keeping your personal finances and business finances separate.
Bootstrapping is a popular way to fund a new business that potentially involves a very small personal investment up front, and the business funds itself from there on. The idea is that you start small and scale the business based on the cash flow that’s coming in, growing as funds become available from the business itself.
You may also consider a loan from a family member or friend, or even taking on a business partner in order to fund your idea.
Get an Investor
There are a couple different types of investors that might be willing to back your business idea. Angel investors, venture capitalists, and cloud funding are all potential options for getting the funds you’ll need to start up your business from investors.
Loans for Business Startup
There are several types of loans that you may be able to obtain to start your business, but you may need decent credit and you’ll definitely need a business plan that’s been well thought out. Options for business startup loans include SBA loans, loans from traditional banks, and lenders who specialize in small businesses.
The crowdfunding trend doesn’t seem to be going anywhere fast, and if you do it right, you may be able to use it to fund your new business idea. There are tons of platforms where you can ask the multitudes to fund your business for equity, as debt, or for future rewards. However, you’ll need to do some additional research to pull this type of funding off. Determine the right platform for you first, and then look into how to succeed on that platform.
Tackle the Actual Start Up
Once you’ve done all of the above, it’s time to get your party started. This means that you’ll need to register your business (after choosing the right structure and the perfect name, of course), file for federal and state tax IDs as needed, and apply for any necessary licenses and permits. You’ll also need to start up a business bank account if you haven’t already done so.
The Final Word on Starting a New Business
Entrepreneurship isn’t for the faint of heart, but it has the potential to be one of the most rewarding careers out there. Don’t jump into it without some serious self-evaluation, research, and maybe some good advice from an experienced business person.