Starting your own business is something many people dream about, but in order to make it, you will have to invest a lot of time and effort into researching the market to make sure that your idea will really take off. Do your research thoroughly and don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board if you have to.
If you invest money in a flawed business venture, you are very likely to waste a lot of it. This means that you should make sure that you sell or offer something that people will buy even if you personally would not.
That does not mean that you have to go against what you believe in. In fact, when trying to think of a business idea you should not try and think of outlandish things to sell but rather think about what you miss in everyday life. What problems do you personally have?
What are the biggest challenges your colleagues at work face? What tasks take up the most time during your day? Don’t wait for a brilliant, paradigm-shifting, disruptive idea, find a real problem people have and solve it. There is value in delivering a product or service people actually want.
A solution to an everyday problem will attract the most people and your main goal in the beginning has to be to get a consistent cash flow going so that you can start making a profit.
If you have a great idea and every confidence that it will take off then you have one bigger thing to worry about: how will you fund your business to get things started? Most first time entrepreneurs try to bootstrap from their own resources from the beginning and seek external help going forward.
There are other ways to help you get started as soon as possible. You can look up for funding sources that are specifically looking for invest in businesses in your industry. It’s easier to secure funds that way than contacting every funding opportunity.
You can apply for a bank loan. To be able to do this you will not only need to show the bank that you can pay back the loan with interest but you will also need to be able to give them a realistic cash flow forecast. Among other things, your business plan should clearly spell out exactly what you do, how you intend to spend the money, how long it will take you to start making money and who will be running the business.
You can invest your own savings or get relatives to invest in your business idea. If relatives or friends invest money, make sure to treat this investment professionally and pay them back at the agreed time. By self-financing your business, you are not committed to making a certain amount of capital in order to pay back your debts.
Use Totally Money’s “Cheapest Ways to Borrow” tool to help you kick-start your business. The tool lets you find the cheapest way to borrow money and it tells you how long it will take you to pay it back. Select the right funding source and the right amount of money you need to get your business off the ground.
If you are a student, you might be eligible for some financial schemes that can help you get started. You can find more about them here.