Business is a combination of war and sport. ~Andre Maurois
A large number of businesses fail soon after the start. Many of us don’t know what we are getting into; or the market conditions are very different than what we imagined. A sound business case involves thorough planning, in-depth understanding and good knowledge of market conditions for the related products or services. Anyone can open a business anywhere. There are new start-ups from kitchen-tables or garages everyday. A simplest business is the kids’ lemonade stand on the street corner. Staring a business is easy, sustaining a profitable operation is a different story.
Here are some of the key factors to consider for a successful business start-up:
Know what you are doing: A good business case requires understanding of your niche, services or product. With today’s competitive world, one needs specific expertise, knowledge and ability to provide a seamless and reliable product or service.
Business Plan: Planning is the most important aspect of a new start-up. A thorough and robust business plan includes the overall business strategy, market analysis, financial aspects, risk analysis etc. If you have a good business plan, most of the following elements in this article could be part of it. A business plan could be dynamic and flexible that could evolve and change based on changing business needs or market conditions.
Find a Niche: Finding a niche with unique and focused appeal is very important. If possible, find something – product or service – that specializes in a key area to attract certain clients, and with very little existing competition. Look for a way to set yourself apart from others by focusing on specific customer needs and interests.
Location, location, location: Every street vendor in New York City knows the importance of prime location. For a brick and mortar business, the location is everything. The location alone can make or break a business. The business site should be easy to access, in a good neighborhood, and should make a good first impression on customers and walk-ins alike.
Local laws: Most of the businesses require a license to operate along with other possible guidelines. Consult your locality for the business operating laws and other requirements.
Budget and finances: The monetary aspect of a new start-up is very critical. Starting with the initial budget, a business needs money to make money. The sales or revenues may not start to trickle-in right from the start; so a financial backing is important as a part of the business planning.
Risk assessment: Again, this is considered and is evaluated as a part of the initial planning. The worst case scenarios, the affects of natural disasters and other possibilities are part of risk assessment.
Insurance: Insurance is not only important to protect the investment from natural or accidental losses, it is also a must have to protect from possible law suits; it also helps with getting better sleep at nights.
Local business incentives: Some of the localities and states may have incentives for minorities in business or many other general attractions for new start-ups. Make sure to check this out with the city or town where the business is operated from.
Online store option: The online stores and business are getting very popular. Finding a unique appeal in the overcrowded online market is important. There is a lot of competition online, and is growing by the day.
Competition: Be aware of the competition out there in your field. Find a niche where competition is minimal, or a product-line with definitive appeal. For example, don’t try to compete with the likes of Amazon or ebay !
Dynamic and flexible: In today’s environment, it pays to be flexible. Be willing to adjust based on the customer feedback or changing market demands.
Customer focused: Nothing new here. The customer is the center point of any business. A sound business plan includes multiple ways to appeal to new customers, building loyalty among the exiting customers, and finding ways to expand the customer base.
Flawless execution: After all this planning, it is time to execute. This is where rubber meets the road. The sales, the revenue, the profits – all depend on the execution, the day to day operation of the business.
Commitment and passion: A business requires more than 9-to-5 commitment. In today’s market environment with cut-throat competition, running a business is no walk in the park. Make sure you have what it takes to succeed including commitment, persistence and passion towards what you do, and what you are good at.