Leaving your boring job and kicking up a startup is the new normal. If you have a service, product, idea, or strategy that sets you apart, you have probably wondered about starting your own small business. You have a plan in mind, you know exactly what your year-end goals are, and your vision board is screaming success. But, there’s a fresh set of questions rummaging through your mind.
"How committed am I to this business idea?" Is it worth giving up my secure full-time job for?" Am I dedicated enough to be my own boss and work on weekends?" Most importantly, where do I start?"
Being your own boss is no joke. Beyond the autonomy and the passion, there is a field, where you have to stay disciplined, take risks and responsibility in equal measure, and basically, be willing to dedicate a lot of time, money, and energy to making your dream come true.
If you’ve overcome the ocean of self-doubt, here is a cheat sheet on how to get your small business off the ground.
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5 things you need to put on paper before you start your small business
1. Your business vision, mission, and plan
If you’re still dreaming about becoming a millionaire the moment your business hits the floors, you need to stop romanticising the process. Be clear about why you want to do it beyond knowing that you are passionate about it.
Your mission, vision and plan will become the core of your work. They will motivate you when your spirits are low, push you to pivot and adapt, and give you peace of mind when disbelief becomes the flavour of the season.
2. Your audience profile
The world out there is inundated with choices, and the audience is spoilt with so much to pick from. So before you dive in, understand your audience. Identify the USP of your product, the problem it solves for your audience (or the way it helps improve their life), and then zero in on your target.
Basically, figure out who you are selling to and what value you are offering to them through your product or service. Without knowing this, you will not be able to pitch it, sell it, improve upon it, or grow your business in the future successfully.
3. Your competition analysis
Look long and hard at what other players in your niche are doing. Note down what works for them, what doesn’t work, how they advertise, whom they advertise to, how they have scaled up, and so on. Knowing these things will help you take your business in a direction that is uniquely yours.
One key mistake you can make while starting your business is not doing preliminary research about your competition. It’s important to stay updated on what the audience wants, but also on what options does the same audience have at their disposal.
4. Your processes
From developing your product or service, marketing it, delivering it, managing vendors and customer support, keeping inventory and sales records: every single thing you do needs to be a part of a standard operating process.
Creating a mental supply line and understand all the processes as part of this supply chain– everything needs to be measured and seamless. Without these processes, you’ll be running around like managing multiple things at once. So keep your head and your processes in place.
5. Your finances
After putting down all the previously mentioned information on paper, you will have a better idea of what you will be spending on, what you do not need to spend on, where you can cut back, and what you can work towards.
So build a financial plan, sort out your banking and taxation details, understand how much money will be going in and out of your business, and basically account for every rupee. Decide upon how much you’re going to invest and calculate how much ROI you need to keep the business afloat. While passion has its own place, we know it’s all about the money.
Now that you have these 5 points, you can add them to your to-do list and get going. And remember, running a business requires more than these 5 things, but knowing them will make your life easier.
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