Hope and inspiration series post 2 – starting a business

If you want to start a new business of any sort, your best chance for success (however you define it for yourself) is to learn and to keep on learning how best to do it. This post has contributions from a small number of experts and quotes from some successful businesses that can help.

Before we get to the actual advice, bear in mind there are a lot of free resources out there covering everything you need, such as those found on the Enterprise Nation website; and there are many people you can talk with to get advice and help from other business people through to professional paid business coaches. There are also organisations you can join that can help you and provide useful contacts, such as the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). We will be seeking content from these and other organisations.

Our first expert is Liz Hamlet, founder of Spark Succeed Coaching and Consulting, who works with a lot of startup businesses. We asked Liz for five tips to turn your business idea into a reality.

“Working a lot with budding entrepreneurs, I often hear many fantastic ‘killer business ideas’. What I also hear a lot of is that they don’t know how to turn their business idea into a reality.

This may be due to a lack of knowledge on how to launch a business or technical know-how.

It may be through lack of money.

That it’s not the “right time”.

Or pure fear of taking that first step.

Or they may be caught up in a cycle of “research paralysis” – where they keep researching, taking on more and more confusing information, or completing more courses and qualifications – thinking that they will feel “ready” once they have done enough research or completed that final course.

What is almost never due to is a lack of passion for their idea.

If you recognise yourself in the above – keep reading! These 5 tips will help you turn your killer business idea into a reality.

  1. Get your idea out of your head and down onto paper

It may only start with a few paragraphs or slides, however putting your idea down on paper forces you to solidify your plans. The process will help you to identify what steps need to be taken, by when and by who (always put a name against each).

This can form the basis for you to ‘test out’ your idea with friends, family and trusted contacts.

Has this been tried before? Are there similar products/services out there? Is there even a market for your product or service? What is unique about your idea? What problem do you solve?

  1. Weigh up your resources

This isn’t just about what money you have to back your idea – although this is very important.

It’s also about the time and energy you can dedicate to getting your idea off the ground.

Will you be working full time in the early stages? Realistically what time and energy can you dedicate daily/weekly to your business idea?

Do you have the funds to develop and market your product or service? If not, do you have access to funds? – Investment, crowdfunding, friends and family, loans, etc.

  1. Set out your game plan

Have a plan to develop the network of support you will need. Are there any networking groups in your area focusing on your industry? What about groups for small business owners? Would you benefit from joining your local Chamber of Commerce?

Ensure you have concrete steps planned out – after all “A goal without a plan is just a wish”.

Try not to overwhelm yourself with one big goal like ‘I will launch my new business on 1 December’. Think about how you can break this down into manageable, specific, and measurable steps running up to your launch date.

For example, if you wish to launch your service business on 1 December with a new website, your steps may be:

  • Have a landing page completed by 1 October;
  • Write rough draft website copy by 10 October;
  • Finalise website design and copy, including Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) by 6 November;
  • Finalise launch plan activities by 10 November;
  • Launch website and service on 1 December.
  1. Measure your progress and celebrate small successes

Set target date milestones and metrics on how you will gauge your progress.

Work out which metrics you will use – your goal should be to break steps down into small chunks and more regular milestones. This will allow you more regular celebration of your progress!

Ensure you take action on your business idea every day. Complete at least one thing daily to move your idea forward. Build momentum.

  1. Just do it!

There is no “perfect time” to launch a new business, product or service.

Many entrepreneurs get caught in the trap of wanting to have everything ‘just right’ before they launch – wanting to have the best service or product possible – however perfection is simply an unattainable goal.

If you have a great idea and have identified that there is a need for it – then JUST DO IT!

Final thought: It’s important that the actions you take daily on your business idea are moving you towards your final goal – and aren’t simply to keep you “busy being busy”.

What’s the first step you will take TODAY to turn your business idea into a reality?

Want to find out more about our start up coaching and mentoring package helping you to spark up your start up? – Head to https://www.sparksucceed.co.uk/startup

Cool Local note: Be inspired by other businesses. Here are two examples of success. IC Mushrooms in Kent, which in under two years from simply growing mushrooms for sale is hiring more growers and helpers and entering new markets. They also offer courses in mushroom growing. Meanwhile, showing that there is room for newcomers in any market, Lewis Morgan co-founded the company Gymshark and six years later sold his share for £100m. (Yes, that is £100m). More here.

Do look out for more posts on this topic and also on growing (with a contribution from Derek Read of Telecoms World) and rescuing and re-purposing established businesses.

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