IG is a Business Developer with experience and training in business analysis and project management.
Foster Your Business Idea
It’s a pie in the sky Kelly muttered; she had no idea how much Ken had invested, and how far he was willing to go to achieve success with his idea. He was passionate, resilient, and determined that he was willing to give up everything for his treasure. That’s what we all need to solve problems, create better societies and live our dreams but we have to start by learning.
Start-ups fail too soon because there’s hardly enough investigation; their owners labour under unrealistic assumptions. From the statutory requirements to the principles that work, it's essential to acquire facts.
A rough idea will be a good start.
It is mandatory to do a reliable survey before you commit resources to your idea. To give you a sense of direction and confidence, and help you identify and overcome mistakes that you ordinarily would have made.
Fierce competition is usually a problem for organizations that offer already existing products and services. To compete favourably, you have to buck your ideas up.
Consider a partnership where the opportunity is beyond your capacity.
Your marketing strategy should win you patronage from customers and investors. Take it one step at a time.
Create Your Vision
What exactly gives you fulfilment? Where do you want to be in the next 10 to 20years? Let’s say; you wish to produce electric cars to moderate carbon footage. Consider those that are already in business. What aren’t they doing well; that you will correct? Are there challenges that could deter your entry into the market? How do you intend to maintain the tempo in the business? Do you have the technical expertise?
Your stakeholders must understand your vision to develop the strategy with you.
What resources are available to you? How soon can you get them? Do you have a good relationship with the stakeholders that matter?
Are there regulations that control your target industry? What are your projections for the first quarter? Note that; new businesses do not usually pick up immediately.
Do clients need what you have to offer? What is their level of demand, and how often will they need your product or service?
Do not worry about everything yet; some questions can only be answered in the process when you get started.
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What are the financial implications? Are there financial institutions that are willing to assist? What are their requirements?
How do these institutions disburse their resources? What is their repayment plan? Is there some flexibility in their offer? Should there be a force majeure; who bears the loss?
Should the market forces become unfavourable, will you be excused for a while? Are there additional costs for defaults?
What alternatives do you have to finance your project? Are there grants from international organizations and philanthropic foundations? What do they require from you? Are there levels of scrutiny?
You may also decide to self-fund, borrow from a friend or consider a venture capitalist. Always do background checks on lenders before you involve them, and ensure that their terms of agreement are flexible and favourable before you enter into an agreement with them.
Understand the Politics
Developing an idea in a competitive environment is usually not a child’s play. You still have to contend with the powers that be, in your business domain. The policymakers can ban your invention, so it is wise to understand, consider and possibly satisfy their interests if need be. They can also favour you with life-changing policies sometimes, in situations where your inventions solve far-reaching problems.
Don’t be desperate for a business connection so, you don’t get preyed on by the so-called middlemen.
Do some research on policies, personalities, and industries to understand your proposed business environment properly before investing.
Plan and Prepare Your Resources
Expectations are usually high at the onset but time and event gradually narrow them to reality.
When you don’t investigate and plan well, you are bound to make mistakes. Just that the gravity of your error will depend on how much you know.
Document your plan based on your findings. By doing so, you’d ascertain the practicability of your proposal before execution. You’d also identify bottlenecks, duplicates to eliminate.
Plan for operations, marketing, and finance; the activities you shall perform, and how.
How you’d attract patronage, and how you’d fund and manage your financial liabilities depending on your source of funding.
Identify the resources you have in place and those you wish to acquire, and factor them into your implementation plan. In planning for your “make or buy,” you have to investigate, and speculate the trend. To help you cater for shortfalls in supply, as well as excesses. Also, consider possibilities of value deterioration and appreciation of your resources.
Fulfil Statutory Obligations
If you have an eye on a particular submission for a contract award; it is vital to inquire from the authorities the requirements that are necessary for the bidding. Though, most bidding processes require some years of experience which you may not have at the moment.
Reach out to companies that need your services, check newspapers and online publications for submissions.
Start to acquire the necessary regulatory requirements for your start-up; facility installations, and operational documentation.
You can also consult people who have been in the business to enlighten you on certain financial and operational waivers.
Start with the necessities; start small. If you start in full scale, soon you’d realize redundant resources.
People, not machine run businesses down. Don’t be in a hurry to hire otherwise; you could end up engaging the wrong hands.
Get involved, at least for a while. It’s even better if you took up a similar job somewhere else before starting up yours. That way you’d have a smooth sail.
Do a job analysis of all the positions for your start-up. Spend enough time to document what is needed and what you expect from your prospective employees. It will get things straight with them, right from day one.
It may be stressful to get experts since start-ups hardly have enough resources to maintain them though you could do it on a part-time basis. An expert is worth the sacrifice.
Observe, Learn and Grow
Focus on operations, marketing and finance. Keep your records intact, so that you can monitor your progress over time.
Prioritize your customer feedback because, as a beginner, you will depend on their initial patronage. Their input will define your products or services, and their level of participation will determine your marketing strategy in the long run.
Preferences will change from time to time, study the trend, and always devise a means to understand what appeals to your clients. You can also work towards premium services for elite clients.
Create opportunities for training, learning, and continuous improvement.
As you study your records and your business environment, you’d discover better ways to run your business.
Establish Your Mission, and Culture
Your mission and culture at the onset may have been inherent, now is the time to formalize them; having explored, and understood your business and its environment.
At this stage, you must have concluded how you want to run your business. It will guide your employees in several areas and also tell your clients, partners, regulators, and customers who you are.
Your mission statement will create a positive image of you which will attract more businesses.
Stakeholders should feel your culture when they engage you, so make sure you create a positive first impression that will fetch referrals. The best way to do that is to orient every employee on your organization’s culture; you never know who a client could approach for a business.
Develop Policies and Procedures
At this point, you must have acquired experience and expertise to develop company-specific policies and procedures. Don’t settle for commonalities. Tailor your operations to your specifics, and set your standards higher than the prevailing regulations.
Do more than the industry SOPs.
Your additional input will reflect on your products and services that will water the ground for a top-notch brand.
Create Your Brand
A brand is your identity which customers are usually keen to associate.
Affiliation is part of existence; people want to quench their social need, so they look out for successful brands to follow.
When you create your brand, you also develop your corporate image, and you build followership which means more revenue for you.
You can go online for more awareness via social media; you can also go public for revenue mobilization through the capital market.
Maintain and Expand
When you create a structure that works well for you; you can then expand.
Your framework must have monitoring, and evaluation checks in place as well as alternative support services, to keep the company running smoothly.
Spread your tentacles to other segments of your market to satisfy other classes of your clientele. Leverage on your economies of scale.
Breed and Nurture
Diversify, develop new outfits, new branches and nurture them. Different businesses have different development lifecycles though the underlying principles are almost the same.
Follow the process: investigate-plan-implement-monitor-refine-expand-nurture. It could take years of diligence to achieve.
In conclusion, don’t be reckless; thread with caution.
Never venture into a business you know nothing about, and don’t jump into business because others are seemingly excelling. It is dicey to do so.
Ensure you validate the profitability of an idea before committing resources.
Good luck; get started already!