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If you are thinking of starting a new business, or if you are just about to take the plunge, you will know that there is a lot that you have to do. But where do you start? It is a good idea to get some of the groundwork done before you start, possibly this will often mean things that you hadn't thought about, things that most people do as a reaction to circumstances rather than as a planned activity. However, in practice you will almost certainly find that it is easier to set things up right at the beginning, so that systems grow with the business, rather than find yourself "firefighting" later on.
Here are a few things to think about and do, before you dive straight into running your new business. Get the foundations right and you will be well on the way to a successful business.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but should be enough to start you off.
1. Think about your goals. What are you setting out to achieve? Write them down. Did you know that only 3% of people have written goals? ..and did you also know that these people earn up to TEN times more than people without written goals!
2. Why are you setting up in business? What do you ultimately want from your business? Write down your exit strategy. Do you want to sell eventually or pass on to your family? Are you aiming for big profits, to create a 'name' or just fulfil a need that you have identified?
3. Find a good accountant, someone who is proactive and forward thinking. (See "10 Things To Ask Your Accountant")
4. Find a mentor. Either your accountant or other business advisor, someone in the same field who has done it already or perhaps someone from the local enterprise agency.
5. Research your market. Make sure there is demand, do people want what you have to sell? Also check pricing and packaging options, what would people pay, how do they want it delivered and with what choices?
6. Write your Business Plan. It may sound obvious, but lots of people don't do it. There are lots of places where you can find free help and advice, just do a search on the internet, or ask your business advisor.
7. Decide where you are going to work. You have many choices - at home, in an office, in a warehouse, near to customers, out of town?.. What is right for you and your business?
8. Make sure you know how you are going to finance your new business. Have you plans to survive the first 3-6 months whatever happens?
9. Open a bank account. Keep all your business transactions separate from your personal ones. You will find it much easier to manage - your accountant will like it too!
10. Read The E-Myth Revisited By Michael E Gerber. It has to be THE book for new business owners.
As I said, this is not a comprehensive list, there are probably hundreds of other things that people might add. But this should give you a good base to start from.
Julia McDaid is a business coach and author, specialising in helping business start ups. For more information on these issues or on coaching for new business owners, see http://www.startupright.co.uk or enrol on Julia's unique Start Up 101 ecourse, where you can go into each question in a lot more depth. Julia also publishes a free ezine 'Secrets of the Successful Entrepreneur' - to sign up just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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