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How to Get Your Small Business Idea Off the Ground
by Alastair Cameron
When you have a great idea for a small business but not much business experience it can be hard to know where you should start to turn your idea into something real. It can be overwhelming and seem like an endless amount of work in order to get things rolling with your small business. But, if you create a step-by-step plan, you can begin transforming your thoughts into a reality.
Do Your Homework
Begin by completing thorough market research to better understand how your idea can fit in the current consumer landscape. Look into similar business models and find out what they are doing – what works, and what doesn’t work. It is also important to have a clear vision of what you will be offering consumers that is different from your competitors. What makes your startup or business concept so unique? What are your points of differentiation?
While you are doing some competitive research, this is also a great time to seek out possible partnerships in your new venture. For instance, if you are offering a particular product or service you may be able to make plans to partner with a retail store or online retailer.
Create a business plan that will allow you to clearly visualize the most important components of your small business before you launch. Your business plan can be formal or informal, as long as it covers your overall business "story" so that you and potential investors or partners have a clear understanding of what you are trying to achieve. Include information on your operational and financial goals as well as projections and scalability.
Get Your Finances in Order
According to new research from Credit Expert, 9% of Britons are aiming to make 2014 the year they start their own business. The research found that half (56%) of respondents said money and costs were the main barriers to them fulfilling their New Year dreams.
Funding is one of the most important factors to getting your small business up and running. Without proper funding you are simply sitting on a good idea, along with all the research you have been doing up until now. And as the old saying goes, in order to make money you have to spend money. It is important to take a good look at the amount of funds you will need in order to launch and possible sources.
So, what can you do? You should start by reaching out to credit report agency to get your current credit rating. A good credit rating is important in order to secure a bank loan. There are also funding options out there in the form of different government grants or a loan from the Small Business Association. They will perform a credit check before approving any loans, so it’s best to prepared and see where you currently stand.
Many entrepreneurs are turning to popular crowdfunding platforms in order to raise funds as well. You are likely already familiar with the likes of Kickstarter and Indiegogo, but there are many niche ones out there for women, non-profits, and specific countries or regions. Take the time to do your research to see which one best suits your business idea.
When you truly believe in your vision, there will be plenty of ways to get the proper funding to help make your dream a reality.
Get Advice & Feedback
It is important to collect thoughts and feedback from those around you. Whether you are just starting out with the idea or you have already launched your crowdfunding campaign, gathering reactions and insights from those you respect and love can help bring your idea to new heights. If you know anyone with prior business experience, be sure to ask for his/her advice. It is also good to remember that you are in need of honest feedback. It may not always be positive but the more honest people can be with you the better. They also may lead you to new and useful connections so don’t be afraid to reach out.
Mi-IDEA Manchester Networking Event
27th Sep 2016
The teams from CISCO and Manchester Science Partnerships have teamed up to create Mi-IDEA, a post-accelerator designed to foster and nurture digital innovation in the North West of England.