Like having a baby, there is never a perfect time to start a business. If all the people you need to help you are available, you’ll have a family emergency to deal with. If the market conditions are exactly what you need, you won’t be able to get finance. It’s very rare to have everything in place at the right time.
So for those thinking of starting their own business, what is the best thing to do? You could always wait, I suppose. But you might miss an opportunity, or find yourself playing catch-up with competitors. Here are a few tips to keep things ticking over to make sure that you’ll be in a position to launch when the time is right.
1. Keep tweaking your business plan
Even if you don’t need to apply for any funding, it is always a good idea to have a business plan so you know how your business is supposed to be progressing. Review it frequently, making changes as you get new ideas or information. You don’t want to launch only to find that market conditions have changed.
2. Top up your budget
If you have money set aside for the new business, don’t leave it idle while you wait to start. Make sure that the money is in a savings account that pays a decent amount of interest and add any spare cash you have to the initial amount. It’s better to have a little more than you need than having to seek additional funds almost as soon as you’ve begun
3. Keep an eye on the competition
Unless you’ve come across a completely new niche, there are probably other business doing the same or similar activities to the one you’ve planned. Take the time to see how they operate, compare this to your business plan, examine how you could do things better or more efficiently. Use that to decide how to gain a competitive advantage
4. Make sure that you’re legit
There’s no point deciding on when you’re going to launch your business if you’re not registered for all the relevant taxes or permits. Get your applications for all the paperwork you need processed early, and make sure that you have the names of a dependable lawyer and accountant. Better to file returns stating that you haven’t carried out any business than to be fined for operating illegally.
5. Keep trying to keep costs down
If you don’t need to launch immediately, you have more opportunity to source materials and services. While the original costings in your business plan may be what you could find at the time, you can now start talking to a wider range of suppliers. See if there are any better deals on offer for all the things that you will need, or if there are alternative and cheaper products that you could use without compromising on quality. Lowering your costs means greater profit.
Doing these things not only keeps your mind on your business idea while you are waiting to launch, but also helps you focus on the areas that tend to get forgotten once you’re caught up in marketing and promotion.
Do you have any tips that you think might be useful? If so, share them in the comments below.
[Image by J Carter]