Starting a business: What to do first

If you have an idea but don't know what to do next, this guide will help. It will provide you with an introduction to how you can turn your idea into a more solid plan for a business, how to get a better idea of whether your business could work, and the first steps towards making your business a reality.

  • Doing research
  • Starting to make calls
  • Mapping it out
  • Telling people
  • Setting up a website

Doing research

Market research is one of the most valuable things you can do for your business. Find out if there's actually a market for your product or service, how much you can expect to sell, who your competitors are, who your customers will be and your unique selling points (USPs) - and how they could reach your business. Talk to everyone you can, read relevant books, look online and explore your market.

  • Market research is invaluable for your business
  • Establish your market and competitors, your customers and your USPs
  • Talk to as many people as possible

Starting to make calls

Start making contact with businesses you plan to use as suppliers, manufacturers, and retailers - everyone you need to make your business work. Ask for quotes, negotiate and meet with different people to identify which companies will suit you and your business best. Establish how your pricing structure will work, your revenue forecasts and your profit margins. Make sure you know the specifics.

  • Start building contacts
  • Figure out the financial details
  • Make sure you know the specifics

Mapping it out

Once you've started your research, start planning the specifics: how your business will work and what it will require. This will mean drawing up a budget, a detailed business plan and revenue forecasts, thinking about where your business will start, what its routes to market will be and who will help. Aim to map out the next twelve months, month by month. If you're applying for bank finance, you need all this documentation in place for a chance of getting it. To make it easier, we've put all the tools you'll need to map out your business in one place at Smarta Business Builder.

  • Map out the specifics
  • Draw up your business planning documents for the next twelve months, month by month

Telling people

New entrepreneurs tend to take one of two routes when they have a new business idea - tell everyone or tell no one. We advise telling everyone - you'll be surprised how many people you know who can help in some way, whether with money, advice, support, creative input, or contacts.

  • Tell everyone you know - they're all potential business contacts

Setting up a website

Setting up a website is the easiest way to get your business off the ground. It helps you explore your market and demand for your product before investing huge amounts money and time. It can also be a good PR tool when you're telling people about your business - even just a couple of pages can provide the kind of details you may not have time to explain when you meet someone in person. A website is also allows you to work on it only and whenever you have free time - unlike other forms of new businesses. You don't need any special programming experience to do it either, you can find everything you need to build your site with Smarta Business Builder.

  • Helps you explore your market before investing
  • Good PR tool
  • Allows flexible working hours

Smarta Business Builder

To help you on your business journey, we've created Smarta Business Builder, the complete online tools package for growing your business. Website Builder, Business Plans, Accounting Software, Legal Documents and Email - all in one place - from just £20 per month with no contract! Try it out today.