Future-proof your business idea with a solid plan before you get started. Here's a checklist to help your planning process and set you on your way to becoming an entrepreneur.
If you have more than one business idea. Go through this process to decide which is likely to be the best fit for you, your skill-set and experience.
Passion - Do what you love. Love what you do. It won't feel like work if you have a passion for it and you're more likely to be successful and stick at it.
Expertise - What experience do you have? What can you do easily that others find hard? Find your genius zone. Also look at what skills you will need to acquire to be successful.
Profitability - Compare the market potential and likely profitability of each of the ideas based on current market growth.
Resources - Do you have the resources to set up. What is required to get this business operational and can you afford it/have access to these resources?
Mark each on a scale of 1 - 10 and tally up the results. Is there are clear winner?
Checklist for starting a new business to help you prepare a business plan.
Why does your business exist? Creating a clear purpose (mission) for your business along with a vision (where you want to be in five or ten years) and operating values (your morale compass). These are essential to guide your company through all key decision-making processes. You should only do things that steer you closer to your vision and comply with your values. It's that simple.
What problem are you solving? The foundation of your business idea needs to solve a problem - What solution are you providing to what problem? Be very clear on this. Keep it simple. You should be able to explain it to anyone in under 30 seconds.
Who has this problem? Define your target audience and remember it is easier to market to a niche audience. If you try to appeal to everyone, you will appeal to no one. Be as specific as possible. Develop customer personas and get to know everything they like, want, need, watch, consume and do. If you can, test the market with your idea.
What is the market potential? The more you understand about the industry and target market the more you will be able to maximise the opportunity and present a compelling business case to prospective investors. How many people are in the market? What is the total value? Is there growth forecast? Is the market saturated?
What is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)? How are you different to the current competition and why would consumers choose you? Are you a disruptor? Are you creating a new market? Each of these questions will play a large part in developing your go-to-market strategy.
What are your set-up costs and 12-months of operating costs? Set a clear budget. and ensure you are sufficiently financed to get started. Not all start-ups need a big budget, but it is best to be clear on what essentials are required. This should include: - business registration; - business insurance; - trademark application; - set up a website; - capital expenditure (tools and technology); - wholesale product purchase or manufacturing costs (if required); - go-to-market implementation; - monthly operating costs. This is not an exhaustive list, but identifies things you should be including.
What are your revenue streams? Have a clear revenue strategy and forecast. Will you make money from selling products and services, through passive income, residual income, subscriptions, memberships, digital products, advertising or training. You may have one core revenue stream, but if you can set up a second or a third, it can help future-proof your business should one be temporarily reduced like is happening now in many industries. The forecast allows you to set goals, but more importantly gets you thinking about strategies and tactics to achieve them.
When will you start? Create a timeline will all the required steps so you know when you will launch, commence marketing, roll out phase 1, 2, 3 of the business plan etc. The more detail you have, the more focused you will be on getting the key milestones done.
What does success look like? Set yourself key performance indicators (KPIs) so you can track how you are going along the way. What do you want to achieve in 12 months, then break it down by quarter, by month. These should be part of your daily focus. KPIs should include more than just revenue. Items such as website traffic, customer leads, digital footprint are some other indicators to show progress that might not show dollars.
What is your business name? A few things to consider when deciding on a name: - Is it unique - check ACIC for the ABN look-up to see if there are any conflicts - What domain names are available? - Check what social media handles are available. - Is there an obvious trademark restriction? Remember you can be creative with full stops and underscores to find an available handle, but you would not want to be too similar with a competitor that your customer gets confused.
Decide on your business structure. Here is a guide to starting a business that can help.
Register your business! If you can answer all of the above questions, and you've convinced yourself this is still a great opportunity, then you are ready to register your business. Register your business at ASIC. You will find lots of instructions how to do it.
Great things grow, just from planting a seed!
If you need assistance getting started, contact Fruitful Group about our Entrepreneur Starter Package (Brand, Website, Social) or our Fast-Track Website (to get you live in 14 days).