Work out what you want from starting a business
The rewards of wealth, working for themselves, more time for themselves, flexibility or just wanting to be the boss had led many people into successful ventures.
At the same time, many have failed due to incorrect planning and not defining their goals clearly.
Write down your goals and ambitions and what you want to achieve. This will help keep your motivation high and keep your mind focused.
Each method of a start-up has its pros and cons. It is essential to know your strengths and weaknesses and to know what you want from the business. This will give you a good idea of mapping your business strategy.
Becoming a franchisee, for example, may not be the best option if you value true independence. It may, however, suit those who appreciate the potential to reduce the scope for making mistakes in the early years.
Think hard about your business idea.
FORMULATE YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE & IDENTIFY YOUR MARKET
WHAT IS YOUR PRODUCT/SERVICE?
How will you be able to supply your product/service to your customers?
What is your (Unique Selling Point), e.g. what makes your product/service more desirable than your competitors’?
Conduct research on the market trends of your industry.
Your local Enterprise Council or Enterprise Agency will be able to help you get the information that you need. See below for links to other useful research aids.
Is there a feasible market for your product or service?
If not, how can you improve on your business idea?
Discuss your ideas with friends, family and potential customers.
Who will buy your product? Try to identify their sex, age, address, occupation and other essential characteristics. What are their needs and desires?
SOURCES OF INFORMATION FOR RESEARCH
SECTORS OF THE INDUSTRY
If you are looking for ‘facts and figures’ on a particular type of industry, you may find a great deal of information at www.economy-ni.gov.uk this UK government website lists information on all sectors of the economy. Also, you could identify and subscribe to the appropriate trade magazine for your industry. You will find a magazine to cater for almost every type of business that you can imagine.
The UK government has a website for people to put forward petitions for the public to vote. This is a good source of public reaction, and it shows the number of votes cast to indicate popularity. See: https://petition.parliament.uk/
LICENCES FOR TRADING
To see a list of where to find information on trading licenses. [click here]
LEGAL & STATUTORY REQUIREMENTS
For particular aspects of your business such as; health and safety issues, your legal responsibilities regarding pollution etc. try visiting our health & safety page which has links to most of the major governmental organisations and quangos which regulate them.
GRANTS AND LOANS
Find out what is available to start-up business finance.
IDENTIFY AND OBSERVE YOUR COMPETITION. FIND OUT ABOUT THEIR STRENGTHS & WEAKNESSES
LEARN FROM YOUR COMPETITORS
Having competitors is no bad thing.
Their very existence proves that there is a market for your products or services.
Observe how they run their business. Look for parts of their business that you could adopt and those parts that can be improved.
Please don’t assume that offering your products/services at a lower price than them will automatically win their customers. Competitors can change.
Try to predict how your competitors would respond to the start of your business.
NEVER ‘BAD-MOUTH’ YOUR COMPETITION
It is advisable to enlighten potential customers about the positive differences between your products/ services and those of your competitors.
However, one should never attempt to win custom by bad-mouthing your competition. The process of ‘blowing out their candle to make yours shine brighter’ often backfires and loses the customer’s respect.
You can be sure that the competition will find out if your allegations make a severe dent in their sales and, unfounded or not, retaliation can sometimes follow.