There are numerous tips on how to succeed in business for start-ups. However this is practical advice for real results from feedback from businesses we have worked with and ours:
1. Business planning
2. Test Marketing
3. Right Finance
1. A good way to kick start this guide is to state the obvious. Most successful Entrepreneurs who don’t start with a Business Plans do one early on into the start of their business – That’s because they realise it’s a good idea. In fact, businesses always start with a business plan, but maybe just not in the way of a formal one. A Business Plan is a document setting out a business's future operational, marketing and financial objectives and strategies for achieving them. Benjamin Franklin supposedly said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” A business plan doesn’t guarantee success, but aids it. On the other hand Winston Churchill also said “Those who fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it”.
From our experience, it appears many people seem to think that setting up a business has more to do with talent and experience than planning. However, keeping your business plan alive is what we say is mandatory. There is no use doing one and then filing it away, just to tick that box. It’s a live document. The business plan serves as a guide for keeping the business on the right track. It also lays bare ideas and opportunities you may not have previously thought of. However, you should not be rigid with the Business Plan. It can be altered to align with changes within the company or economy itself. It serves as a roadmap to success. You can have a 1 year or up to 3 year business plan. In fast moving industries, looking beyond a year is irrelevant. It’s advisable to renew your plan at least every 3 years. That way you incorporate new ideas and do away with the old before they become obsolete.
2. Where possible, test marketing is essential for any business in order to keep abreast of the trends in their particular industry. If you can’t test the market, then take up the concept of lean startup. This is about being less wasteful and still providing a service or product that is meaningful. Given that test marketing comprises of real-life buying and selling without the buyers being aware of their participation as being in a test market situation, it gives the company involved a real feel for the demands of that particular industry. This helps in Business Modelling & Planning and a real eye opener in addressing business’s strategies to improve business performance.
However, developing a finished product is often very time-consuming and could be capital-intensive, it could therefore be a real negative if it misses the mark or does not reach its intended target and profit. The Lean Startup (which is an approach to building new businesses or innovations where entrepreneurs investigate, experiment, test and iterate as they develop products) works around this issue through the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and a concept known as the Pivot. This involves an early prototype model or service being produced and available to prospective customers who are savvy enough to understand the company's vision and willing to offer feedback on the product or service. The idea is for the company to avoid, as early as possible, building a product or service that customers do not want. This is referred to as the build-measure-learn feedback loop. In the pivot, a business hypothesis about the product and the business model or engine of growth is tested. If it does not pass the test, a corrective course of action is taken or the prototype model is completely dropped.
3. Right Finance. This is often one of the most challenging aspects of any business especially early stage businesses and start-ups. However, obtaining the right finance is crucial and the backbone to any business. It is essential businesses get the right start up finance at the beginning of their businesses and in the future based on their business financial projections and availability. Getting the business financial projection correct is essential as this could determine the kind of finance and access to finance required, which would also determine the repayment rate and\or terms and conditions. Many new businesses aka Start Ups over project their profits and therefore get easily sucked into business loans with inappropriate repayment terms when this could have been easily avoided.
Whether you are a start-up business or an existing business that wants to grow the company to the next level, you may need some form of cash injection to help you on your way, alongside the right business plan. Whatever, the case might be, it is vital. At RBSS, our experienced and professional consultants can help you start right or if you are an existing business help you with the correct financial projections and help raise the right finance appropriate for your business.
If you require further insight into these key areas to help your company start and grow or you just want someone with the required knowledge and experience in business please connect with our business advisers at RBSS Consulting Ltd on 0333 355 1696 or drop us an email on the link below. We provide real business solutions for startups and existing micro and small businesses.
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