It’s not all expense paid lunches and huge paydays – setting up a startup is an exhaustive, expensive and sometimes eye opening introduction to owning and running your own business. If you’re in the situation of pondering a start up yourself, consider the below issues and questions:
- How concrete is your business idea? There’s a vast ocean of difference between having a vague business idea that you think is the modern equivalent of sliced bread and having a workable business model that is tried, tested and capable of being scaled up. If your idea is still an acorn that exists largely in your head, consider doing some testing in the real world before engaging in the start up process.
- How clear is your vision? Creating a start up needs crystal clear vision on the founders part – you’re going to be up to your neck in challenges, so it’s imperative to be able to communicate your start up vision enthusiastically to many different stakeholders. For example, you might need one or a few employees to get it off the ground – if so, you’ll need to motivate them in a way that their immediate wages might not. You may need to borrow money from lenders, or even friends and family. And, you may need to talk to potential customers about what your shiny new widget does and why it spanks the pants out of the competition – to do these things with clarity and enthusiasm means having a vision on what your SME is about.
- Do you have the right mix of personal qualities to start a business? The odds aren’t overly in your favor as a start up – an incredibly high number of start ups fail in their first year of business, which should paint a pretty good picture about just how difficult creating a sustainable business actually is. Entrepreneurs who establish startups need to possess a myriad of qualities – dedication and a positive outlook are key, as in the initial stages they are often required to get their hands dirty with marketing, accounting, product/service creation and more all at once. They need to “get on” with others, and get the most out of other people – whether its energy from an employee, or that little bit extra from a key supplier.
- Do you have a plan? A sturdy business plan that covers all bases is utterly crucial for an SME startup. Everything from your projected sales & expenses down to your marketing plan must be jotted down on paper.
- Is there proof that your idea has merit? There’s a common misconception that starting a business that no one is doing is the best way to go. It’s a clever world out there, and most ideas have been tried and tested. How do you know that the same idea you plan on sweating blood and breaking the bank for has not already been tried before, unsuccessfully? Before you even consider creating a startup, it’s worth investigating whether a market actually exists for your perceived product/service. Basic market testing can be quick and simple to put in play, and worth investing in as it either gives you an initial green light, or prevents you from creating an expensive soul destroying mistake.