Is it time to pack in the 9-5 and start being your own boss? Entrepreneurship is thriving and it’s a great time to launch a business. If you are ready to take the plunge, there are a few things you need to consider before branching out on your own. You could have a brilliant idea but if you don’t have the skills to implement it then it’s a non-starter. Equally, you could have a brilliant skillset but if the market isn’t there then you’re not going to make money from it.
You need to be strategic when starting your own business.
Ask yourself three questions:
What do customers want?
What do investors want?
What can I realistically deliver?
Spend a few months going for walks or drinks down the pub and allow your mind to wonder free exploring different markets, products and customers. For a little structure, use this checklist and save yourself time by obeying the do’s and don’ts.
1. Large market and growing market:
2. Solve a Problem – be the morphine not the aspirin:
3. USP or Disruptive Technology:
4. Profitable Market:
Some do’s and don’ts to help guide your business idea evolution:
- Think big: Big markets, big profits, big ambition.
- Be free: Don’t limit yourself to realism – making it happen comes later and you’ll pivot 10 times before the final version anyhow!
- Problem solve: Go talk to people – friends, corporations, bartenders, retail assistants – anyone who will give you the time. What problem do they have and how could you solve it?
- Become obsessed with an idea for the sake of it. You may go through 10 ideas before you settle on the one with potential. Leave your ego at the door.
- Go any further forward with the idea until you’ve spoken to over 100 potential customers.
- Worry about sharing your idea. First, people are more obsessed with their own ideas than yours. If someone likes it they will either want to join you or buy you, they don’t want to go to the trouble of building it themselves. Second, you need to share it to get team members, customer feedback and investment. Third, and no offence intended, but your idea will not be that original. There will be a form of it somewhere. Secrecy is not the key to success.
Bear in mind, these tips are designed around budding entrepreneurs who will need to seek investment and want a multi-million-pound enterprise. Some of you will simply want to cover your bills and pay for that holiday in St Bart’s. If that’s you then you don’t need to be investor focused and you can cater to smaller markets. Think through why you’re doing this and where you want to go. If you’re doing it for flexibility, freedom and work-life balance, then a life-style business, consultancy or e-commerce can satisfy your goals. If you’re doing it because you believe you can create something better than what exists and want to take on big corporates, then you need to have an investor mindset and a customer focused strategy.
If you have started your company and are looking for growth funding, then please contact the Kent Investors Network at www.kentinvestorsnetwork.co.uk.
Managing Partner, InEn Global LLP
CEO, Kent Investors Network