Beginning your own business venture is as equally exciting as it is daunting. Entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes, with some people simply wanting to add a new and interesting kitchen utensil to the list of culinary essentials dwelling in our cupboards, and other people, such as a certain Elon Musk, looking to literally launch a car he built into space as practice before following up with countless satellites with the aim of delivering planet-wide internet access from space.
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Some people just like to get up early in the morning and change the world.
But whatever you decide to do with your time, from something as fun as developing a series of children’s books to something as serious as coming up with alternative ovarian cancer treatments, developing a solid raison d’etre should be your number one priority. Without a foundation on which to build your grand design, you’re going to be spread too thinly straight from the start.
Research the competition and spot a gap in the market
You may want to go into the cupcake industry, for example. That’s fine. Everybody loves cupcakes. But the problem is that many entrepreneurs have already realised that everybody loves cupcakes, meaning you’re going to face stiff competition from already established businesses. This is where you need to research what exactly it is that people love about cupcakes, and streamline your idea towards the footfall.
You could use Google for keyword research to discover that cupcakes and “delivered” are regularly searched. Should you be looking to deliver? Do you even need a walk-in store? Cupcake recipes are another big search. Should you even bother baking the cupcakes yourself? How about writing a cupcake recipe ebook? When researching, always consider the services that people want and try to fill any gaps in the market.
Nothing comes for free – startup costs
Once you have decided on your idea, you are going to need funding. You basically have three options.
You can raise the money your startup needs yourself (by remortgaging your home, for example). You can ask an individual or company for the money, otherwise known as an angel investor (typically, they will demand to own a certain stake in the business in exchange for their backing, and it’s important to negotiate the correct business deal that could see you buying back the entire company once the initial investment plus an agreed amount of interest has been repaid). Or lastly, you could ask complete strangers for the money, known as crowdfunding.
You could also take out a business loan, but make sure the rates are manageable (the bank could repossess your home, but a crowdfunded project will only require you to repay the investors – make sure you consider your options!).