by James Kim, writer at Choosewhat.com
You’ve got a business idea. Unfortunately, you don’t know anything about business solutions or what you have to do to actually get your company off the ground. Don’t worry: here’s a quick walk-through.
First you’re going to have to plan. Even though you have a decent idea already that doesn’t mean that you’re ready to move onto the next step. You need to have a clear idea of exactly what you want to accomplish. This is because you won’t be able to make the best decisions moving forward unless you know exactly what goal you’re aiming for. In addition, no investor is going to be impressed with an incomplete outline when they’re considering whether or not to give you any money. Not sure how to develop your idea? Head to the nearest incubator. If you don’t know of an incubator in your area, try looking at the closest university to see if they have one (e.g., UT Austin has the Texas Venture Labs). Incubators will help you you develop that initial idea and, as a bonus, help develop your pitch for you to use later on when you’re trying to get funding.
Of course, next comes getting funding. The first place you should look for money is friends and family. As long as you make a contract to make sure there are no disputes later on down the line, this is one of the best funding options because you’ll be working with someone you get along with and you’re going to get a way better deal than you would with a traditional institution. If you can’t get money from your close acquaintances, try looking for outside “angel investors” who will usually give you money in exchange for some equity in your business. Still striking out? You can either take the “traditional” approach and go to the nearest bank for a loan or, if you think you have an especially solid idea, try to get venture capital. A word of warning: venture capital is only appropriate if you know that you need a lot of money and if you know that you’re prepared enough to make the major presentation that goes along with it.
So, finally, you’re ready to start your business. With the aid of some of those business solutions that were mentioned in the beginning, you don’t have to sweat the small stuff and can focus on the bigger picture. So, as a whole, you’re going to want to be frugal. Getting your first round of profits is not license to go blow a load of cash on new equipment and office space. Start good habits now by depositing that money in the bank and keeping it in reserve just in case something goes wrong (after all, you’re not fully established yet).
Hopefully this quick primer has been of some use for you in your quest to start a business of your own. As long as you work hard and look before you leap, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a successful business owner.
James Kim is a writer for Choosewhat.com. Choosewhat is a company that provides product reviews and test data for business services and products. Their goal is to help small companies make informed buying decisions on business solutions that help their business.