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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 also allows you to work on it only and whenever you have free time - unlike other forms of new businesses.
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.