There are many things that you can do as an entrepreneur starting out in business to save yourself time.
All you have to do is be organised.
Here are WGP Global’s 12 quick pointers to How Every Beginner Entrepreneur Can Develop A Successful Business (Without Wasting Precious Time!)…
1. Find a business idea
It’s always best to rely on the approaches that have worked for other entrepreneurs to save yourself time from the get-go.
Your ambitions should match the market size, though as a speciality brand, a smaller market size will influence potential revenue.
Market trajectory also matters more than current state, because you must understand that demand today doesn’t necessarily mean demand tomorrow.
Clearly, the business needs to be able to go the distance, so put the marker down immediately as to whether your product is a trend, stable, a fad or a growing market.
Are you likely to have competitors, and if so, how will you build market share and attract customer attention? What will differentiate you?
Make sure you understand any rules, restrictions or regulations around your product, for example import/export if you intend to ship to different geographical locations.
2. Choose a business name
Keep a business name short, sweet and relevant, not confusing and irrelevant.
Why complicate things when there’s no need?!
Remember when choosing the game that it will be something the business has to stick with. If you ‘get it wrong,’ tough.
Be original. It’ll save time and effort if you run a free trademark search to make sure that no one else already has the name.
That also applies to URLs, so do a domain name search too.
3. Validate your product idea
As you develop your idea, validate it.
Get people to commit, as that will show you that the idea you have could be a winner. What you don’t want is to keep hearing how great your product is, but there’s no intital uptake.
There’s only so much you can get from feedback, surveys and market research. Having the tills ringing is the validation you need and want.
For that to happen, you need to be selling a product that you know people want to buy. Sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many times it’s dismissed.
Setting up an online store for pre-orders or launching a crowdfunding campaign are two ways to get things moving in the right direction.
4. Write your business plan
Though some plans aren’t worth the paper they are written on, planning is still everything to ensure you get off on the right foot.
It may take a half dozen re-writes before you’re happy, but the right business plan will enable the formalisation of your idea which will streamline the business-creation process.
It won’t take long once you’re comfortable in the direction the plan is going to work out what questions still need answering.
Things are bound to change as you go along, with certain original details becoming out of date, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a plan to hand.
How do you know if you’ve arrived at your intended destination if you don’t know where your business is going?!
5. Get your finances in order
You want your business to make money, but if it was easy to do just that, then everyone would be jumping on the bandwagon.
Understanding cash flow and managing it are just the tip of the iceberg, but you need to get to grips with it or else your business won’t even get out of the starting gate.
It’s important to have a clear view of your total investment as it will be helpful in making projections such as when the company will break even.
Start-up costs will also form part of the financial literacy that you will need to get a grip on.
Simply put, if you get your maths wrong = no business.
Keep accurate business accounts records (income/expenditure), and stay on top of the cash flow situation so that when you’re able to employ an accountant to do the donkey work for you, they’re fully appraised of the situation.
A business credit card or bank account will also make sense. ALWAYS keep your personal and professional finances separate
6. Develop your product
If you have your own product to develop and then sell, you will stand out in the market.
Keep costs in mind as you continue to develop the product, because it’s important to ensure that the product is priced profitably.
keep your total costs in mind when figuring out your pricing. While your product’s price is not solely driven by costs—and there are many factors that influence pricing—it’s important to price your product profitably.
7. Pick a business structure
You should consider a few factors when looking at the correct legal structure.
For example, where the business is located will dictate what you’ll need to get started eg a business licence.
Are you a sole trader or will you have a number of people owning the company? Is it a corporation or a limited liability partnership?
If it’s just you that’s involved in the business, you are personally liable for it and the activities conducted by it.
You can have employees if you’re running the business as a sole proprietor, but you’ll have to register the business because you will need an employer identification number.
Clearly, everything will have to be set up correctly to avoid legal issues down the road.
8. Research licenses and government regulations
Don’t end up in legal trouble purely because of a lack of research.
There will be various regulations and licences that will be required in order for the business to be able to operate and function without a problem.
A lot of regulations will be industry specific and sometime geographically specific.
Trademark and copyright laws must also be adhered to, so take legal advice as needed because that will be money very well spent in the long run.
9. Select your tools
Software automation is your friend and its value shouldn’t be underestimated.
You can’t do everything, even if you wanted to, so to take off some of the heavy lifting that’s involved when running a business, make sure to invest in the right tools to do the jobs that will make your life easier.
Repetitive tasks that you or none of your staff want to do and which don’t require too much in the way of decision making is a perfect start.
Streamlining your sales and marketing work will also be a huge benefit.
10. Find a business location
What are you selling and how much stock do you need to hold?
Simple enough question, and the answer will determine where is a ‘best fit’ for your business.
For example, maybe you intend to sell print-on-demand t-shirts, which means the only space you’ll need is a desk, laptop and a small amount of actual workspace.
However, you may need retail space, in which case you will probably have to rent.
If you need to pack and send shipping orders or keep inventory on site… both of these variables will influence where you’re able to comfortably work from.
11. Plan workload and team size
What skill sets are required from your team in order to hit the ground running from the start?
How many staff will be needed given the workload required to launch the business?
Both of these important questions must be answered in a timely fashion because it could affect the level of launch investment and the timeline to which you wish to work.
You will need to account for staff costs too.
Consider using project management tools once you are at the point where you understand who will be doing what, and what needs to happen.
12. Launch your business
The final hurdle!
Every launch is unique, but at the outset, ensure that you use your network as much as possible.
Offering discounts to tempt customers is never a bad thing at launch, as it will help to build traction around the product.
Everyone loves a bargain after all.
If you feel you need to, a few small, targeted and paid ads may work wonders in giving your business visibility.