Checklist for Starting Your Own Business
Starting a business and managing it in a way where it becomes a notable company within its certain sector is an appealing dream for so many business people and entrepreneurs. Owning a business brings with its independence, freedom and is also a very rewarding life experience; however, starting a business from scratch and making it successful is a really tough thing to do.
Most businesses cease to exist within the first five years of its opening, which goes to show how tough it is. To maximize a new business owners’ chances of succeeding, they’re going to need to have to do a lot of things to prepare themselves for their adventure in business better. Stuff such as having the right experience, a suitable education from an online MBA, as well as a good plan are all at the very least beneficial for a new business owner to obtain.
Here is a robust and detailed checklist, going over the most important stuff that a business owner needs to help them drive their business into a successful one. None of these steps should be skipped; they are all as important as each other. By following this checklist for starting your own business, you should have everything you need to grow the business and be fruitful.
Do You Have the Relevant Education?
You can start a business without having any form of business-related education or knowledge but doing so will only put you at a disadvantage and increase the likelihood of you failing. Even if you are an expert within the niche and service that the business provides, not knowing some of the key areas of running a business will make things seriously difficult for you.
The best way to learn about business is to obtain a good education. Of course, the level of education you obtain will depend on your preferences, but to be the most prepared you can be, it’s always a good idea to obtain a higher form of education, such as an online MBA.
An online MBA is a master’s degree that teaches students a comprehensive overview of a business, the many areas within it as well as how to lead and manage a team. All of these are essential and getting this knowledge through an online MBA will seriously help you out as you start a new business.
To get on the online MBA course, you first need to have completed a bachelor’s degree at a good, well-respected institution as well as obtained a GPA of over 3.5. The area of study for the bachelor’s degree does not matter, although it’ll be better if it was in a degree related to business in some way, such as English or marketing.
Do You Have Suitable Experience?
When learning about business, you can’t obtain everything within an online MBA classroom. Instead, the best way to learn and develop business skills is to gain experience within a business firm in an entry-level position. This is a good thing for new, potential business owners to have, as it will increase their understanding of business and how things operate. It might also make them more ethical and supportive to staff, and as a whole will make you far more experienced and better prepared to deal with the many challenges starting a business will have.
It’s thought that a good level of experience you should obtain working for someone else, before considering starting your own business, is around five years, however, if you’ve been working in leadership positions, then that time can be reduced due to your role having more responsibility.
It’s a good idea to try to get this experience in early in your life and career, because you need physical experience to get into an online MBA, meaning that without spending time on the field within a business, you’ll struggle to hit the first checkpoint of the list. Don’t be scared to work internships and unpaid work experience positions while you study an online MBA, as the time spent doing this will help to bolster your resume and give you some of the knowledge you need.
Have You Got the Right Skills?
There are a lot of responsibilities a new business owner will have and need to juggle, so before embarking on this journey, it’s important to evaluate your skills and determine you genuinely have all the stuff you need to be successful.
Some of the most important skills required is good communication and interpersonal skills. The reason communication is important is that it allows the business owner to relay and get across their vision and ideas to the staff members who are going to be realizing this vision. To communicate well as a business owner, you have to be direct and confident with what you’re saying, as well as clear. This will help you get your staff members on your side and buy into the project of the business. However, a good component of communication is the ability to listen and acknowledge and consider suggestions and criticism from staff. A bad business leader will ignore and deflect these suggestions, so it’s important to learn how to communicate well in an online MBA and take this feedback on board.
Interpersonal skills can also help the business leader create a better working environment, where the staff feel motivated and valued. A good skill to learn is evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of your employees, as this will allow you to allocate tasks that best suit each induvial, making them more productive.
As well as these more abstract skills, there are also more concrete things you need to know how to do, such as managing finances, conducting analysis, and learning how to make decisions and evaluate risks. All of this can be discovered on an online MBA, which once again highlights the importance of getting a good degree before starting a business.
Have You Created A Business Plan?
To manage a successful business, owners need to create a solid and robust business plan, to help guide them through their opening months and give them a target to follow. Without planning, businesses will be operating blind and will have nothing to compare against to evaluate their performance. A plan is like a roadmap, and it helps you figure out how to structure, run and grow your new business. They’re also an important thing to have if you’re looking for investment or funding, as outlining a detailed plan on what you expect to do can persuade people to back your business. Thankfully, you can learn how to plan on an online MBA.
When creating a plan, you want to make sure that you set your goals and aspirations correctly. The best way to do this is through implementing SMART goals, as this helps keep your plan actionable and makes it easy to use in evaluation. To ensure the goals within your plan are SMART, you want to ensure that they’re specific, which means that what you set out to achieve shouldn’t be too broad or generic. This is because a focused outcome is easier to work towards. It should also be measurable, meaning that the goal should use hard numbers that you could compare against, with a good example being ‘to make 1000 sales within the first four weeks.’ It’s also important that the goals are achievable, as you want to keep expectations realistic, and they should also be relevant; you don’t want to set a goal for something that isn’t that important. Finally, they should also be time-sensitive, meaning that each goal should have a deadline.
When making a business plan, you can go one of two ways: there’s the traditional business plan that requires the business owner to go into great detail, or there’s a lean business plan that focuses on summarizing the most important points of the key elements of your plan. Both are viable options and taught in an online MBA, so pick the type of plan that best suits you. When planning, talk about the key points so that you can get a good overview of your business, such as sections on:
- Executive summary
- Company description
- Market analysis
- Organization and management
- Service provided
- Marketing and sales
- Financial projections
Have You Conducted Market Research?
When starting a business, it is very useful to have a good understanding of your competitors and the types of audience you want to attract to your services. That’s why it’s super beneficial to conduct market research before you start creating your business. This is because what you may learn from conducting this research could influence aspects of your business, such as your business structure, model and what services or products you provide.
To do market research well, first, learn all you can about the other business within your niche. Identify your main competitors and industry leader, and then investigate what they do and how they operate to get ideas for what you can do yourself. You should learn about their marketing tactics, the price of their services so that you have an idea of how much you should charge, as well as some weaknesses you can exploit. How to do this well is covered in an online MBA.
In addition to this, it’s also a good idea to research the key target audience for your products and services. Creating a customer persona through the information you learn will be able to help you figure out the best tone of voice you should use for your marketing, what social media platforms will be most effective to target and even the theme and color scheme of your website and other forms of media. When researching your prime audience, figure out things such as their average age, ethnicity, income, motivations, and fears to better equip yourself for business. You can learn how to conduct market research well on an online MBA to give you a competitive advantage.
Have You Acquired Funding?
It is possible to start a business with your own personal funds after saving up for a long time, however, to position your new business in the best financial position, obtaining funding from an investor is perhaps the best way to go, simply because there is going to be so many start-up costs for your business, such as getting equipment, hiring staff and renting a place to trade. The most expensive period of a company is when it’s just starting out, so to help you get through this tough initial period, it’ll be worth your time trying to find funding and financial support.
You can learn how to get funding on an online MBA, but the first step in finding suitable financing is to initially figure out how much you’re going to need to get off the ground. It’s worth overestimating than underestimating, as things can be a lot more expensive and additional costs you may not have considered are sure to crop up. Once you have a hard number of how much you need, you then need to figure out which method of acquiring funding is best for you.
One good option in addition to self-funding is getting venture capital from investors. These are usually offered to new businesses in exchange for an ownership share or an active role in the company. This could be beneficial as these people might have good experience to help you out, but if you want to be independent and call all the shots, then it might not work out for you.
You can also try using crowdfunding to fund your business or get a small business loan from a bank. To do this, you’ll need a robust business plan, expense sheet and financial projections for the next five years to persuade the lenders that you’ll be able to pay the loan back. It does mean that your business will acquire debt early on, but most companies have some form of debt to repay. As long as you manage that debt well, and keep up with the repayments, then it shouldn’t be such a burden for the business.
If the banks aren’t fully convinced with your business and find it too risky, you can also try to look for SBA guaranteed loans. This is where the SBA can be used to guarantee your loan, taking away some of the risk from the bank, making them more likely to give you a loan to start up your business.