Most small businesses start with a dream, but if that is all you have, you may never get your business started. If you try to blaze ahead without the proper preparations in place, you may see your small business crash and burn quickly.
To get started on the right foot, there are a few things you need to do. “To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart,” said Thomas Watson, the former CEO of IBM. So, you begin with a dream, but then do these other things to ensure as smooth a start as possible.
Build up Capital
Every business requires an investment of some kind, and in most instances that will be a financial investment. Where you get that capital to start with will depend on the resources that are available to you. It may be necessary to take out a small business loan, or you could save up money from your job. You could borrow money from a friend or sell some of your belongings.
You will know you have enough money when you have calculated your costs and accounted for them, saving out enough money to cover all of them. You may not be able to predict all of the expenses you will have up front or in the first year even, so try to save out extra cash. Also talk to someone else who has started a small business in Kenya and ask them what expenses they had to deal with.
This will be one of the most important things you do in preparation for starting a business. If you try to go into the business world without any money to work with, it will be like tying your feet together right before you start a race.
Clear Your Schedule
Starting up a new business is a lot of work. It may take a lot more time than you are expecting, and you may struggle to have enough time to deal with all of the issues that crop up. To get ahead of these kinds of problems, you should start early in clearing your schedule as much as possible. Look at responsibilities and tasks in your life that you normally do and see if there is another way to take care of them that won’t involve you putting in the time.
Small business owners in California, for example, will get San Diego house cleaning done by the best cleaning services available. In Kenya, you might need to hire house cleaners or someone to run errands and work as a personal secretary for you. It may benefit you to have someone cut your grass and do landscaping for you and someone to babysit your kids. The extra time you will gain from hiring some tasks out will give you the edge you need to get your business off the ground and keep it running smoothly.
Develop a Business Plan
You should never start a business for any size without a business plan. What is that? It plays out your tasks and expenses for the near future, often for the first year. It is also a chance to set some goals so that you know what you are looking for and what kind of change you will need to make in the coming months. If you are applying for a small business loan, the lending agency may require a business plan from you. It’s a smart idea to make one up anyway, just for your own benefit and to help you stay on track to meet your goals. A proper business plan does not just lay out the goals, but it also gives a brief outline of how you plan to carry those out. It can serve as your plan moving forward, and then as you start your business, you can make changes as necessary.
Make Sure Your Paperwork Is in Order
Starting a business may require all sorts of government approvals. You may need the government to approve your building for the purpose you plan to use it for. You may need to file tax paperwork for the business and set up a system to pay your workers. You also need to figure out who your suppliers will be and how they will be paid, as well as how you will receive shipments and when those will be scheduled for.
Once again, it helps to talk to someone who has started a business in the past couple of years to get advice about what kind of paperwork needs to be filed and what government regulations you need to be aware of. If you can get a head start on the paperwork and legal aspects of running a small business, you will have fewer responsibilities to worry about and fewer headaches in the initial months of business.
Check Your Utilities
Don’t expect the utilities to be up and running smoothly as soon as you are ready to open your business. These things take time, and you may need to contact the water and electricity suppliers to ensure that everything is hooked up and being sent to your place of business. If you are focused on inventory, customers, and employees, you might forget about things like water, electricity, and internet. Before you open the doors for the business, make sure these things are working like they should. It would be awful to start the business and not have access to the essentials.
Take Time to Advertise
You also want to get the word out about your new business. Advertise on social media, let your friends and family know, and do local, physical advertising as well. Put up flyers to announce your new business so that people in the area will know our business is coming. If you have the resources, you can even advertise on radio, television, in the newspaper, and on billboards. You don’t have to see your business fail right out the gate. If you follow these guidelines, you should be off to a good start.