4 Essential Steps To Consider Before Starting Your Business

  • SumoMe

There are a number of things you need to consider before starting your business. Firstly, it is essential to understand the differences between a business and a hobby, and decide if you are running a business for tax, legal and insurance purposes.

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  1. Know your business structure and type

Each business structure and type can have different legal requirements, so it’s important you understand these requirements before you decide what is best for your business. Ask yourself the following questions:

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  • What type of business will you start?
  • What products or services will you sell and how will you sell them e.g. Online, retail or both?
  • Do you know which business structure best suits your circumstances?
  • What do you know about your chosen industry?
  • Will you be importing or exporting goods?
  1. Know your product or service

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This knowledge is essential to any business, whether online, home-based or otherwise. Without a good idea of what product or service you’ll offer, it can be very hard to move forward with planning and marketing your business.

Your product or service will influence your business structure too. Depending on what you market or sell, will you only do business online, or will you also have an office space or store to run as well? This can have an impact on your business in terms of staffing, storage space, and rent costs.

Before you start a business, find out if people are interested in buying your products or services. Find out who your competitors are and whether the market can sustain your business.

Creating business and marketing plans can help you identify goals and develop strategies for achieving them

Conduct some research to see whether your idea is really feasible. This will involve gathering, analysing and evaluating information to help you formulate your business goals. Finding current industry statistics, sales trends and speaking with other business owners in the industry is often a good place to begin.

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Some questions to consider are:

  • What product/service will you provide?
  • Is your idea feasible?
  • How will you protect your idea?
  • Is there a market for your product/service?
  • What skills do you need?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • What difference will you bring to the market?
  • Do you have the financial capacity?
  1. Know your customers

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Knowing who you’ll be selling to can help you define your business. Do some research into your potential (or existing) customers or clients, and their habits – this means checking out who will be buying or using your goods and services, and how they normally do this.

Understanding your customer base, and how to direct them to your online business, is important. Investigate what kind of customers usually buy online, what they’re buying, and how they find their goods and services.

  1. Know your plan

Why write a business or marketing plan?

It may be tempting to get on the internet right away and start experimenting with setting up an online business. However, a little planning can go a long way in ensuring your business is a success. Creating business and marketing plans can help you identify goals and develop strategies for achieving them.

If you’re an established business moving online, you might already have a business or marketing plan – but it could be a good idea to review them to make sure they’re comprehensive.

How do I create a business or marketing plan?

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Your basic business plan should be drafted before you go into business, but, once started, you should always be thinking about what you can add to it. It should contain some core information, such as why you want to go into business, and what your goals for the business are. It doesn’t need to be long or complicated – it should be clear and to-the-point.

Your marketing plan’s aim is to help you reach your target market and boost your customer base and bottom line. Drafting your plans can involve thinking about:

  • what your business name will be
  • how you are going to manage your business
  • looking after finances
  • Developing products and services that meet the needs of your market.

Emergency management and succession planning

Whilst you may be pondering the how and why of starting your own business, it is also important to think about how you might protect your future business in times of crisis or change. Smart business owners prepare for potential risks by creating emergency management plans and succession plans.

Emergency management planning allows you to adapt your business to changes in its environment by taking appropriate action before, during and after an emergency. Succession planning deals with business continuity, and can assist you in managing unexpected events, such as selling, retiring from, or leaving your business due to health reasons.

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