5 things you need to do before starting a business

Thinking about starting your own business? Before you do, consider doing these five things to help set your business up for success.

1. Who is going to buy your product or service?

It might sound obvious, but this is something you want to think about carefully. It's a common mistake to assume everyone will be interested in your product or service, so you need to know who your target market will be. Asking yourself these questions, can help you figure this out:

  • Who will want your product or service?
  • Roughly how many people fall into this category?
  • How might you reach them?
  • How will they want to pay?

2. Spell out your unique selling point

You're offering a product or service, but you're unlikely to be the only business in the area providing that product or service. So why should customers pick your business instead of your competitors? What is it about your business that is unique? Knowing what sets you apart will help you to focus on what’s important as you further develop the idea for your business.

3. Write a plan

A solid business plan is a key part of starting a business. Set out what you want to achieve and how you're planning to achieve it. Writing your business plan will help ensure you've thought through every aspect of running a business and may also help you identify any potential weak points.

Once it's time to launch, a business plan with financial projections can help you get funding from a lender or investor. It will also give you a framework to run your business by outlining what's important.

4. Sort out the admin

An accounting system is a must for almost all small businesses, and a little extra effort at the start can save you some headaches come tax time. Another key step to take is opening a specific business bank account - it's important to separate your business income and expenses from your personal for:

  • Better cashflow management
  • Reconciling your accounts and tax returns
  • Presenting your business as more professional

5. Pace yourself

Don't try to grow faster than you can handle. Most owners who've spent years in the game agree focusing on growth you can sustain over the long-term is the best way to build your business.

As you expand, you'll face all sorts of challenges and you can burn yourself out trying to move in too many directions. While it's easier said than done, try to factor in regular time off. In the long run, this should help you to maintain your energy and enthusiasm, keep a clear head and generally give yourself your best shot at success.

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