Starting a New Business: Get the Essentials Right
By Laura McElroy

You might have been toying with the idea of starting a business but have no idea where to start. Very often, people who launch an enterprise have a sound concept around which to build it but little understanding of how a business operates and what it takes to keep it afloat.

Consequently, their business goes under before it even gets an opportunity to make a profit. To avoid this fate for your start-up, here are some of the basics you need to have in place:

Your idea

Even the most fantastic ideas might not work if there is no market for them, which is why market research is essential. Determine who your target market is and whether your product or service will resolve a problem or pain area for them. Find out how to contact this market of potential buyers to align future communications with these platforms.

Analyse your business idea using the SWOT approach, which consists of identifying your idea’s strengths and weaknesses. Follow this by evaluating opportunities in the market and what threats, such as competitors, your business will face.

Logistics

There is available office space in Melbourne for entrepreneurs, and having the right premises is critical for your entrepreneurial endeavour’s success. Do you need a warehouse or factory, or space in an office park? Let your business model and plan determine the answer. Contact an agent who can assist by showing you options before you decide.

Other questions that need to be asked and answered center around hiring employees, buying the right furniture and equipment, and providing a space conducive to achieving your business goals. Additional logistics to consider include the delivery mechanism for your product or service and strategies for creating awareness among your target market.

Draw up a business plan

A business plan is about far more than costs, as it lays out in detail what you intend to do with your idea. Start with a summary plan, and then take each item and expand on it. This should include a description and breakdown of your product or service, a thorough market and competitive analysis, a marketing and sales strategy, and the finances needed to launch the business. 

You will also have to describe your business model as a manufacturer, retailer, franchisee, e-commerce shop owner, brick-and-mortar operator, or dropshipping. Your product or service and analysis of the market will guide you in this decision.

Getting ready

Since most business is conducted and marketed online, having a professionally designed and supported website is essential. Plan the layout of the site and consult a developer who can make it a reality. Start marketing well ahead of the launch and let a freelance digital and social marketing expert to handle this aspect.

Have the necessary inventory ready for the launch so that you can uphold your delivery promises. To avoid the added stress of managing stock and organizing deliveries, consider a third-party company that administers these functions on your behalf.

Launch and monitor

The launch is a busy and exciting time, but continuous monitoring and evaluation remain necessary. Having set milestones and goals to achieve when laying out your business plan, make sure you are on track. If not, evaluate why and put interventions in place to adhere to timeframes.

This is an ongoing process because the market is continually evolving, and you need to adapt to it if your business is to survive. Examine all business processes, such as marketing, logistics, and website functionality, to ensure that they maximize your sales. Determining which is the weak link allows you to create targeted improvement plans that have the desired effect.

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