Starting out

Got a business idea? Here's what should come next

Have you been dreaming of starting a business and got an idea you think might do the trick? Turning any business concept into reality takes effort, skill and an appetite for risk. That’s why we’ve compiled six steps to help you to get your idea off the ground and launch your entrepreneurial career.

Unsurprisingly, you like your business idea. But do others? Talking it over with real people is the best way to find out if it has true potential.

You could start with friends or family, but try to also run it past those you see as potential customers. An outsider’s perspective can shed some light on what aspects of your idea could be improved, and how much people may be willing to pay.

Once you’re clear on your core business idea, turn your attention to the market. Do you have competitors? If so, what products or services could you offer that they don’t?

Also, think about who your customers are, and what specific problem you intend to solve for them. Looking at your idea as a way to deliver value, not just income, can help to bring it to life.

Rome wasn’t built in a day – and certainly not by only one person. It’s important to know what tasks you should handle yourself and to be able to acknowledge when it’s better to delegate something to someone else.

For example, your business idea might require knowledge of a certain accounting package, programming language or a specific field of law. Networking can help you find the right experts and help you get them on board. This way, you can keep your mind and energy focused on the bigger picture.

Even if you’re starting with a shoestring budget, you’ll need to make sure you can keep paying the bills while you’re getting your business idea off the ground. Consider how much money you’ll need, and what type of financing is best suited. This can include:

  • self-funding or ‘bootstrapping’ the business
  • bank loans or other financing which requires paying it back with interest
  • outside investors (e.g. venture capital), who take an equity stake in the business or percentage of its profits in exchange for funding
  • crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter, where people make small donations, often receiving an incentive for doing so
  • unlocking funding for your business using our free Business Grant Finder tool

You may not yet have a product ready for the world, but that should be no barrier to building awareness and anticipation around your business idea.

A Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram page, YouTube videos or a basic website can cost little to nothing, yet be incredibly effective for building a community of engaged prospects who are ready to buy when your product hits the market.

A prototype, also known as a minimum viable product (MVP), is a useful way to test whether or not your business idea is feasible. It could be a physical product with a few basic features, or a non-physical entity, such as a shopping website that only sells a few products.

The main goal of a prototype should be to verify that customers are willing to pay for what your business will produce.

At this stage, you may want to develop a more detailed business plan and dig for deeper insights into the problem you’re trying to solve.

The only way to know whether your business idea will catch on is to put it into action. With these steps, you’ll be on track to launch your enterprise.

Free Business Grant Finder

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