We all have been there: a brilliant and innovative idea just comes to you during a random moment of genius, a moment on which you saw a problem and exactly how to solve it. Then, the business part comes in, you see how it might be profitable, you might even have in mind a catchy name that reflects trust from potential customers. That’s when the possible logo comes to your mind too, right? Yes, something memorable, simple, but unique.
What comes after all the thought process, though? That part of a startup might be where most of us decide to come back to reality, back to our office job, and leave somebody else take care of the problem you could be solving but ended up abandoning. After having left several half-cooked business ideas behind, whether because of uncertainty, fear of failure, or lack of commitment, we decided to come up with a quick To-Do List of simple steps that can be of great help to start a small business with a solid foundation in order to make completing the process easier, and abandoning the idea, harder.
One of the most important steps when embarking on a business is doing the right amount of research in order to get as much information as possible about other companies that might be similar or even identical to the one you want to start. It happens more often than we would like to admit, but chances are someone already had the same idea you’re having right now, and a business as you had imagined it already exists.
This is why research is crucial. By searching for similar businesses, we will get an accurate idea of what companies are doing, what they are failing to do, and how yours would be different from them. This can also help give us a more detailed notion or concept of what our company might become, plus knowing our potential competitors will make us be more prepared when deciding to go for the gold.
After we gain insight regarding who our competitors are and what they represent, we are one step closer to fully understanding our potential target market. Just as important as knowing what other companies are doing, understanding what our market expects from us and how we can manage to have an influence on their experience as consumers; why would they choose us instead of choosing our competitors is what we want to understand completely.
This part of the process might be a bit more complicated than we may expect, yet figuring out who our customers will be, what their buying habits are, along with their demographic and psychographic information will get us one step closer to starting a business that will remain relevant as time goes by; being profitable, and solving a consumer need at the same time might be tricky, but the right amount of research will definitely get us there.
Once we have a pretty accurate idea of who our competitors and our customers could be, then it’s time to fully figure out what our company will consist of, and more importantly, how it will work and to what direction. Developing a business plan is key before we start setting up our company, as it will work as a map or guide to follow in every step of the journey, from the executive summary, to the company overview, lists of products and services, target market, milestones, metrics, and of course a financial plan to the things going.
A business plan will make it easier for us to take action in case our company is going the wrong direction, as well as simplifying the funding process to, especially if we are thinking about applying for a commercial loan. Banks and other financial institutions might actually ask for your business plan before even considering the viability of granting a loan, which is another advantage of coming up with a business plan during the early stages of our entrepreneurship.
Despite what popular belief, and our own enthusiasm, might tell us, coming up with the name of our company should not be the top item on our priorities list. Now, we are not saying the name of your business is not as important as knowing your competitors or developing your business plan, for a well thought and conceptualized name will definitely work wonders for your company, and a name that was randomly chosen will most likely work against us.
Having done a vast amount of research as well as developing a thorough business plan will actually help making the naming process easier, as we should have a concise idea now of what our company will represent, what values it wants to portray; the message behind our company will now guide us in the direction of the perfect name, and once we have it, we can now start to worry about the legal process that lies ahead, which should be discussed in a future post.