You’ve come up with that bullet-proof business idea. Numerous micro-pitches have been made over drinks. You’ve planned, plotted, dreamt, and now what? How do you translate your concept to money in the bank? Or, more importantly, how do you do it successfully? Informi give you an insight on how to get started and get prepared.
Many aspiring entrepreneurs don’t get far beyond this point. Blueprints are folded and pushed to the back of the cupboard to address another day. Of the few of those that are actually formulated into start-ups, over half fail within the first 5 years.
In general, this high failure rate can be boiled down to two main reasons:
- Poor understanding of the market.Whether this is through failing to access the target market or simply through there not being a target market for their product. Without customers, a business is a sure-fire crash and burn.
- Poor business management. The idea of choice of working hours and never having to deal with HR again is understandably attractive. But equating ‘being your own boss’ with getting to do more of the stuff you love and less of the stuff you hate is a common misconception. In reality, being your own boss means picking up all of the responsibilities that are usually split throughout a working team. Often, less of the fun and more of the not-so-fun ones. And this is the root of failure for many businesses. It’s easy to focus on the creative and engaging aspects of the business in neglect of the sometimes tedious, management, overseeing and administration that keeps the company from slipping below the surface.
Amongst these reasons, there is a common theme: lack of preparation. Contrary to many, (arguably best avoided) articles, successfully executing a business idea isn’t down to some elusive entrepreneurial spirit that you are born with or without. Entrepreneurship, to be exact, is the process of creating a business. It’s not inherent. You can learn it, with a dusting of perseverance and any of the plentiful resources available on entrepreneurship. Some are even free.
One of the simplest ways to get started is to follow advice and guidelines put together by experienced business owners. Gov.uk also provide a wealth of free information on starting a business. Each of their articles are tailored to specific questions that emerge while forming and running a business and they do an especially good job of elucidating the legal requirements to setting up a business. Top tip: Gov.uk provide a list of regional specific funding and loans to emerging businesses.
Depending on how you learn best, you may even choose to embark on a paid course to train you in entrepreneurship. Courses are the most thorough options in learning about entrepreneurship, and the structure of a course is helpful to keep you on track. Degree and Masters level qualifications are by no means necessary to run a business well but understandably, such in-depth training can do wonders for your business. For example, you could take a supply chain masters online, which can teach you about multiple aspects of business. But – and this is an important consideration at the early stages of your business – is this the best use of your money? Training courses, especially university level courses, usually carry a hefty price especially if studied full time. You may end up dipping into funds that could be better spent on setting up your business. Likewise, it may mean that large stretches of time are spent learning about aspects of business development that are not immediately relevant to your business idea.
If you want the structure of a course but not the dedication of a paid course, a cheaper and more efficient alternative is to buy textbooks. Many short and long training courses are organised to follow a textbook, all it takes is a little delving to discover the most highly recommended books and you’ll be ahead of the crowd (with more start-up funds in your pocket).
This is the inflection point: resolve to muster the mettle to become an entrepreneur, or fold the blueprints and leave them for another day?