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Do you have a great idea for a business, but it feels like a minefield figuring out where to start? If so, read on… we’ve put together a simple starter guide for the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Create a Business Plan
First things first, you need to create a business plan. This involves putting pen to paper and defining what your business is, how you will attract customers, what your business goals are and how long it will take you to reach these / the steps involved. It doesn’t need to be a 40 page tome – it can be a simple, concise summary of your business idea.
In order to create a great plan you need to do a fair bit of market research to ascertain that there is demand for the product or service that you plan to offer. This should involve a competitor review. Use the competition to your advantage –look at what works for them and what they need to improve. Build this into your plan. There is no harm in picking up the phone or email around to find out if people are interested in your business.
Define your target audience – the people who will buy your product or service, and how you intend to reach them.
You will need to create a differentiated proposition for your business. What makes you different from everyone else out there and why does that matter to the people who will buy your product or service?
Work out how much money you will need and who will fund your business?
As part of your business plan you need to figure out how much it will cost to start your business and fund it in the first few trickier years.
You may need to approach a bank for a loan, or other investors like friends or family. You could apply for a business loan or a personal loan. TFS Loans offers Guarantor loans to fund small businesses.
There are several government initiatives such as Innovate UK. You will need to demonstrate a significant market, prove existing customer engagement, outline a clear business plan and show how the money will be invested, if you are applying for funding from an investor.
Test your product or service before you go into mass production.
Most successful entrepreneurs recommend testing your product or service before you go into mass production, so that you can take on feedback, make changes and ensure it’s what the market wants, before you’ve invested too heavily. Make sure you test on your target audience and not just friends and family. You can create free online surveys with tools like Google, test on social media or even face to face on the street.
Build a good network prior to launching your business
It’s worth building a network by attending relevant conferences, events and workshops. Consider contacting a business incubator. Incubators are always on the lookout for new entrepreneurs and will happily give you constructive feedback on your idea and networking.
Setting up your own business isn’t easy, but it can be incredibly rewarding. Be prepared to deal with set-backs and rejections along the way. You will have to eat, sleep and breath your idea, and you’ll need to be prepared to learn a multitude of new skills as you will be CEO, Chief Marketing Officer, HR, PR, Finance etc.
TFS Loans are specialist Guarantor Loan lenders. We offer Guarantor Loans from £1,000 – £15,000 for a range of purposes including large purchases like cars, home improvements, weddings and other events, debt consolidation and for start-up/small businesses.
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Our representative APR is 48.9%