What to do next
In part 4 of our start-up guides for new businesses, we focus on tactics that can help you turn that genius of a business idea into an investable entity.
Many of us have felt that we’ve got that one amazing idea that would sell millions, but only very few have turned it into a viable business. So if you’re convinced that you have a winning formula, how do you go about getting started and turning the idea into reality?
You might think that it’s all about the finance. Well, not quite, and certainly not right at the start. First things first, you need to get your thoughts written down. What is your idea, what’s different about it, who is your market, what ideas have you got for launching and how are you going to make money? It might help to create a mindmap so you can visualise the idea and how all the different sections fit together (Xmind is a useful free mindmapping tool).
You need to do a lot of research at the beginning. There’s no need to start forking out for others to do this for you (and you should be conserving any funds at this point). Information is freely available to you over the internet, you just need to know where to look for it. Social media networks can provide you with lots of valuable inspiration and feedback – log on and listen to what people are talking about, what’s trending, what people are looking for and bounce ideas around. You can use forums and blogs to see if there is a need for what you’re intending to provide – you don’t need to reveal your unique idea but can keep it general. Most people are happy to give feedback and an opinion.
Crucial to getting your idea off the ground, once you’ve done your research, is to get a basic business plan together. Have a look at one of our previous resource guides, which goes into more detail on this. But for your very first foray into a business plan, by searching on Google, you’ll get an idea of how to go about it.
Think about funding
When you feel you’re ready to take your business idea to the next level, and you’ve sketched out your business plan, you can now think about funding. Many start-up business ideas are initially funded through help from friends and family. Although this may be your only available source of funding to start with, you should treat it like gold dust. Frittering away money at this stage is not an option so only use what is absolutely necessary. You can consider approaching an angel investment company, but the stats say that less than 5% of UK business angels invest in early stage start-ups.
Find a business mentor
A guiding hand to offer support and advice as you move your business forward is a valuable resource. A business mentor can be that resource, and someone who you can bounce ideas off without you chewing the ears off your loved ones. A great starting point in finding that helping hand is www.horsesmouth.co.uk, a social network offering informal mentoring.
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