With all the start-up business support available for wantrepreneurs, I’m surprised how much ‘business’ there actually is in advising people the steps necessary to start a business. It’s a question I get posed a lot of times – I’ve got an idea but I don’t know what to do next.

There were over 580,000 businesses started up in the UK in 2017 add to this the number of people that are thinking of starting business and we must be somewhere near the 800,000 mark; the appetite in the UK is certainly there. The starting up bit is relatively easy, you just go to Companies House or a third party company and for £25 and about 15 minutes you’ve got yourself a start-up. Seriously that’s it. I could really stop writing now …… OK, I know I’m been a bit tongue in cheek – but I do seriously wonder what stops those thinking about it from going ahead and getting started it’s nowhere near as hard as you probably think it is.

Here are 5 practical steps that you can take to start your business now;

  1. Get rid of excuses. Not the right time? Not enough money? You have a family? Not enough time? You can make up a thousand excuses not to start on that idea you’ve been thinking of, even more reasons why you might not be successful but until you stop making excuses and accept every success story started just like you someone with an idea that went for it, you’ll be stuck at stage one still making excuses. If you don’t do it someone else probably will and that would really suck.
  2. Make sure your idea is simple and addresses a problem or a market gap. Don’t waste time trying to come up with a totally unique idea – they don’t exist. Just work on something that is addressing a customer problem/need. Your idea will change and evolve as you test it on the market. Execution is far more important than how good the idea is. Great execution of an average idea is far better than average execution of a great idea.
  3. Have a plan. I don’t really believe in the concept of business plans (unless you require investment) I think they discourage people from starting but you do need some sort of plan with clear targets for you to achieve and measure. The plan has to be something that is live that you can keep referring back to and updating with one big milestone and lots of small wins. So make a plan of what you expect to achieve in the next six months and judge yourself by the targets you set. You can get help with this from a mentor.
  4. Find out what your ‘customer’ actually wants. Knowing the value of a market or the fact that another company is doing well in it (even if it’s your own) isn’t good enough. Who is going to pay for your product or service – you need to be talking to them and make sure they are actually willing to pay. I challenge you to interview at least ten of your potential customers every day to find out exactly what you would need to deliver for them to want to buy your product or service. This should start as soon as you think you have an idea and only slow down once you have spoken in detail to about one hundred people. You should be trying to convert each interview into an order or pre-order if you haven’t got a product/service yet.
  5. Find yourself a mentor. The best way to learn is to speak to someone that has been there and done it, someone that has gone through the process of starting a business – the more similarities with your industry/idea the better. This doesn’t have to be a formal relationship it could be a regular informal meeting with someone that is just a little further along the road than you are.

So there you have it 5 easy and practical steps that will ensure that you get your business off to the best start. Not complicated, anyone can do it.

If you are reading this and you want to be amongst the half a million + that will most likely start a business in 2018 stop the excuses and get moving on that idea now.

Want advice on starting or growing a business?

I support people go from idea or small business to profitable business. If your business is at a standstill or you don’t know what to do next then make sure you get in touch so I can help you out.

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