Many of us dream of starting our own business, of taking that step into independence and self-sufficiency. So what are the best ways to ensure your dream is a success? Here are my top pieces of advice to start a business and those looking to take their business to the next level of success.

Time in reconnaissance is never time wasted when you start a business

In warfare they call it reconnaissance, in business it’s due diligence, but the bottom line is good research is the key foundation to a new business.

Before you even consider premises, staff or making your business a reality, take the time to research who your customers will be and find out how they would respond to your idea. This can be done by talking to potential customers and seeking feedback. Then adjust your idea accordingly before creating the most basic version of your product or idea and seeing if people will actually pay for it. It’s a process of seeking feedback and adjusting.

Employ your passion when you start a business

It goes without saying that business is about passion and a drive to succeed. It is the reason why you go into business and seek to expand it. Passion is also about your mindset, your evaluation of your goals and your commitment to succeed in your field. Once you have that drive and passion, it’s all about how to achieve your goals, and that comes down to planning.

Plan for success when you start a business

Set your goals and work out how you will attain them. I cannot stress enough the importance of a clear business plan that matches your goals with your strategy. A business plan is a document that can be revisited time and again. A good business plan is like a map showing you where you wish to go and your route for getting there. The destination can change and the route be upgraded as your business grows.

Your plan should cover:

  • Marketing – a good marketing plan is about how your reach your customers, what you offer and your pricing and advertising strategy. It will encompass prospective opportunities available to you and your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Operations – this is the bricks and mortar section of your business covering items such as regulatory issues that affect your business, insurance, business premises, plant and equipment, credit terms and production and distribution arrangements. It’s about how you work from where.
  • The organisation – This sets out the structure of your business including the “chain of command” and the skills required to run, manage and operate your business.
  • Finances – Every business needs a financial plan focussing on strategy, best case scenario i.e expected cash-flow projections and worst case scenario i.e break even cash flow projections.

With research, passion and planning, you can enjoy the ride that is business knowing you have product, the path and the destination all mapped out.