Plan your business start-up
Good planning and a strong focus on your market will give you a good chance of successfully developing your idea into a business in the future. To maximise the chances of your new business being a success, ask yourself the following questions: Where are you? Where do you want to be? What will it cost? How will you get there? Why have you chosen this particular idea?
These questions are just some examples of the many important factors to consider before you set up a business. You must decide which markets and customer groups you want to sell to and how you will do this. You must be certain that your customers will want to buy from you and that you will make money on what you sell. You must also define why you want to pursue this particular idea and the driving force behind it. It could therefore be an idea to prepare a personal clarification of yourself and your perspective while working to develop your idea.
Once a product has been launched on the market, it is important that customers not only believe in the product, but that there is also genuine enthusiasm from the business, over and above making money. During the planning phase, a clearly formulated business concept and vision will help you map out the way ahead. It can also be a good idea to draw up a plan for how you will do this.
Listen to the market
The big question before you make a start is of course whether your business will be a success and whether it will be able to generate a profit in the long-term. No one can answer these questions with any certainty, but if you are market-oriented, you can obtain some indication by:
- asking future customers what they think of what you are offering,
- asking suppliers what they think,
- keeping an eye on businesses which are already established in the sector,
- analysing the market,
- mapping out your competitors,
- estimating the size of your customer base.
You do not need to spend money engaging others to assess the market. You can obtain a great deal of information about your potential market by using the Brønnøysund Register Centre's "open data" service. This is a free service. Here you can find updated information about registered businesses and you can tailor the information that you wish to download.
Vision and business concept
It can be useful to spend some time during the planning phase formulating a vision and business concept for your start-up.
A vision is a desired future position which you and your business want to achieve in the long term, and will act as a guide for the future business. An idea becomes a business concept when it can meet a need in the market and provide a competitive edge which can be maintained over time. A business concept describes what you want to sell and to whom and how the customers will buy from you.
Example of a vision and business concept:
IKEA's vision is "To create a better everyday life for the many people".
IKEA's business concept is to support this vision "by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them".
Involve others in the planning process
You can benefit from discussing your idea with others. It may provide you with good suggestions for progressing with the planning of your own business. A good tip is to build a network of resource people around you who can help you in areas where you need it. Good resource people may be people you know or other businesspeople who have experience in managing a business. It may be the municipal authority's business development manager, your bank, an accounting firm, an auditor or a solicitor if you need help drawing up agreements.
Draw up good plans
If you are considering working with a business partner or applying for financing from a bank, they will want you to demonstrate that you have established realistic plans and budgets before they consider working with you.
All relevant information concerning how you intend to realise your business concept should be summarised in your business model. The next step in the planning phase will be to prepare start-up budgets and, if appropriate, draw up a business plan.