What is the first step to starting up a small business in the UK?
It seems that everybody has a different opinion as to what the first startup step should be. Some say the first step should always be perfecting your business idea; some say ensuring your finances are in order; some say making sure you have the perfect team in place and some say lunching as soon as possible is the only way to really know what you will need to succeed.
Are these wrong? No, we can’t say that they are. Some people have had great success starting and running their businesses doing each one of those things first. But if you are to ask the same successful people to do it again with a different business, it’s where it gets tricky. So are they wrong? No. However with proper planning of any business, your chances of achieving success are far greater.
So what is the first step of starting a small business?
Building A Business Plan!
It just so happens that most entrepreneurs, successful or not, come to the realization that having a business plan is actually helpful – not just in the startup stages but in the long run.
A business plan isn’t just a bunch of paper put together to make what appears to be a business in writing, but it’s exactly what it says, it’s a plan. A plan of of your business; or a plan for your business.
Think about it like this with a few of these every day scenarios:
Having dinner at a restaurant:
Seems simple, right? It really is. Let’s say you and a few friends are going to meet for dinner at a restaurant later to just hang out and talk over dinner. You call your friend, he or she calls another friend..etc. A plan is in motion. You call the restaurant to make reservations and you notify our friends of the time, at which point you prepare your out fit depending on the dress code and you figure out how to get there (will you drink, do you drive, take a cab, walk..etc). What is the plan after the restaurant?
It may not seem like it, but that’s a lot of planning put into a simple dinner with friends. After-all you want to ensure you have a great dinner and a fun night out. Starting a business is no different.
Going on a trip:
Going on a vacation is the perfect example of needing to plan. Where you’re going to go, who’s going, what are you bringing, what are you going to eat, do..etc Before you go on any trip, you plan your entire trip from start to finish. At the end of the day you are spending a lot of money on your trip, so you want to ensure you are satisfied with it. Having a plan for your trip will ensure you are prepared. Similar to planning a trip, your business needs a business plan.
So if you’re going to dinner for a hundred dollars and you want to plan to ensure you’re happy at the end of the night, or if you’re going on a thousand dollar tip or more, you want to plan to make sure you get what you want, why wouldn’t the first step of starting a business be a business plan?
It’s a lot of money, time and effort you are putting into your business – don’t you want to do whatever it takes to succeed?
Not only will a business plan help you with your startup, but it will also prepare you for the unexpected. Your plan should answer all of the questions about your businesses needs, wants, opportunities, threats and much more. No matter who reads your business plan, they should be able to clearly understand it all.
Remember that if you’re intentions are to obtain funding for your business and if this is the primary reason for writing your business plan, be sure to aim your business plan towards the banks and government funding agencies you would be applying to. Ensure your business plan shows your financial situation as it is, and show what you need funding for and what the outcome will be if you’re successful at obtaining it.
Now that you know that a business plan should be your first step to starting a business, get started!