10 steps to starting a business

Starting a business comes with high rewards which means it's also high risk and venturing into a business you need to be vigilant and make sound well-thought of decisions.

You need to be honest with yourself about the motives behind starting your business. If the motive is to make millions then you need to put in the hours and be willing to work hard to earn it therefore it will require patience and commitment. You should know that starting a business requires planning and determination therefore have realistic expectations. Lastly, it all begins with a vision.

1. Start with a feasible yet creative idea

Think about whether or not your business idea is viable for business. Figure out if it is a need or want, is it a service you would use frequently. Be more objective with yourself, will people be willing to pay for what you want to offer (product or service)? Does it exist in the market and if so what sets your business idea apart.

2. Planning

For any business to come into effect one needs to strategically plan by mapping out short, medium and long term goals and objectives of the business. Planning should be an on-going process to ensure the survival of your business. Put to paper the day to day activities of the business.

3. Research your market

With any business you need to research if there is a market for it and whether your methods will work for distribution and any pain points that need to be solved with regards to what you offering. Ask your target market the relevant questions to get your business off the ground. Solve a problem for your market and you sure to have sales.

4. Create a detailed and well-researched business plan

Compile a detailed plan consisting of the idea and objectives behind your business also stating your mission. This will also need details of the business goals and how you plan to reach them as well as the start date. The plan should also include structure of the business and operating systems. The marketing strategy should be included as well as your financial forecast for the business as well as a detailed list of expenses. It will also mean that you need to provide information based on you target market.

5. Plan your marketing strategy

Once you have figured out what your offering is you need to come up with a marketing strategy to sell your idea to consumers perhaps through social media, a website or flyers and incentives. This is an essential part of the business because it can make or break your business it begins from the point of production to the point of distribution. This will require a competitor analysis and it is also an on-going process and forms part of planning for the business.

6. Think of how you going to get funds

Once you've registered your business and estimated costs, the business is going to require its own bank account which should have funds especially if you thinking of lending money to fund the rest of your business operations

7. Register your business

Register your business to also attain or keep the intellectual property of your name so you can trade freely. Registration will require you to decide what type of business entity your business falls under, see the different types of businesses you can fall under. Operating under a registered entity is beneficial for funding and if operating as a sole trader the onus is on you to notify SARS as a provisional tax payer therefore you will have to define the structure of your business. It is also up to you to register as a trademark so no one else can steal your name and idea if it is proven to be original.

8. Legal requirements for start-ups

Depending on your business entity, it will require legal documentation as per registration and establishment of the legal business entity as mentioned above. It also means determining what records need to be kept for tax purposes. Determine professional needs such as marketing, advertising, legal, accounting, insurance and banking.

9. Think about the initial financial/sales forecast and estimate costs

Finalize costs of the operation of your business and list of expenses against your capital. Furthermore you will have to provide a financial forecast as to how you anticipate the performance of your business financially throughout the year. In short you need to provide details of the profit against loss and income versus expenses while indicating your monthly cash flow.

10. Finalize the start-up requirements

Depending on the nature of your business, legally separate yourself from your business, sign contracts and lease agreements if acquiring a space for your business, apply for and obtain a business license, pay permits and fees (legally binding documents need to be completed), obtain utilities services if necessary and get furniture and equipment, design and print business cards, open a business bank account, elaborate customers/providers forms and contracts, set up your accounting system, obtain business insurance, open a website and register in social media.

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