Entrepreneurship is the in-thing today! The high rates of unemployment and underemployment are driving a big number of people to start their own businesses to employ themselves and others.
Youth are especially being encouraged to become entrepreneurs. Without proper preparation, guidance/mentorship most businesses hardly live to see/celebrate their first birthdays. Consequently, the proprietors suffer huge losses and are often left worse off than they were before they set out to invest in enterprises.
Before you invest your money and time into a business venture, here is what you need to do.
Identify a clear business idea
This is the first consideration for any entrepreneur. How good your business idea is might be the one single factor that makes you or breaks you.
Do you want to invest in a service business or you want to make a product? What is it exactly?
These are some of the questions that are important for you to answer at the very initial stage. You need to be clear about what exactly it is your business will be offering and how different it is to what everybody else is offering. As you think about your idea, it is important to reflect upon the need you want to meet. If the service or product that you want to offer doesn’t meet any need, you risk failing to find a market for it.
Do research on the business idea
Now that you have got a business idea, you need to do some more research about your idea. Who will consume your product/service and where are they exactly? This information will help you to not only determine the pricing for your product/service but also the location.
You might also want to research your competition to determine what they are doing differently. You do not want to be that company that launched a business only to find out too late that there are over fifty other companies that are offering the same products or services.
If you want to carve out a niche for yourself from the very start, you must research your competition in order to know your differentiator that is going to help you beat the competition.
Make a business plan
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. This is the reality for every business. A business plan is important because it helps you to know where you are going, the resources that you need to get there and what you need to do to get there.
Without a plan, you risk being diverted by other seemingly more fancy ideas. One of the biggest challenges that entrepreneurs have to deal with is sticking to an idea and seeing it through. A business plan will help you do just that.
Additionally, you will require a business plan to attract credible partners and access credit from financial institutions. Read more about how your business plan should look like here.
You will find it easier to mobilize resources when you have a nicely put together business plan. When it comes to venture capital specifically, here is the good news: there are so many organizations and foundations that are interested in funding business in the startup phase as long as the business idea is appealing enough. See our list of organizations and foundations that are providing venture capital for startups. Besides organizations, you can mobilize capital by reaching out to friends, family and from personal savings.
Aside from venture capital, you will need people who are skilled, reliable and trustworthy. People that want to work and see the business grow.
Create awareness about the business
Raising awareness about your business is an integral part of the marketing process. How you do this is highly dependent on the size of your business, how big your budget is and the target for your campaign. Some of the most commonly used approaches include word of mouth, social media, e-mails and letter, and meetings, among others. Awareness creation is especially important in the startup stage of the business as it ensures that you have a market for your goods and/or services.