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6 things to do before you start up your Start-up

By Tim Fuell - June 6, 2013

On the back of the success of Dragon’s Den and the like, making your inspirational idea into a successful start-up business has never been such a popular pastime. Many a business has begun just like that too, perhaps in a back bedroom, part-time after a full day at the day job. Starting up a business with the variety of online tools available has never been easier either, so what is stopping you???  Well here’s 6 top tips that shouldn’t stop you but you should certainly consider before heading headlong into starting up your start-up:

1 Be sure of your brand

Your name is the most important part of your action plan. It needs authority but also needs to be accessible. It needs to work online and offline and you should also consider how it works in different languages. Run it past others too, and guage their initial reactions. Does it leave the impression your want? In the age of social media you should also try to choose a brand that you can grab matching domain names, twitter handles, YouTube channels and Facebook addresses for.

2 Prepare your admin trail in advance

Successful organisation of documents and proper record-keeping could be the difference between success and failure for your company. This goes beyond having a good acounting regime too. You should have a system and templates for legal records, HR and employee documentation so that once your company is up and running, you don’t have to fiddle around on these.

3 Do a proper cashflow forecast

Yes, a business plan of how you are going to make money is essential, but the biggest lesson you will learn in business is that what happens on paper is rarely what happens in practice. You may well bring in the work and invoice for it, but what if those invoices don’t get paid on time? What if they don’t get paid at all? Have a plan B and a plan C. Try and avoid the situation too by making sure your finance team stay on top of all monies due.

4 Manage expectations

Again the importance of your business plan can not be underestimated, but make sure it is realistic. Yes, set goals and try to achieve your dreams but don’t add to your pressures by being over ambitious with your expectations. If you fall short, it is likely to affect income, cashflow, maybe even achieving basic business goals. Make sure you are clear of how things interact, so if A doesn’t quiet live up to your expectations how can you make it up with B & C.

5 Identify your competition

Even if yours is a unique proposition (few ever really are) there will be others in similar fields who with a minimum of effort could follow your lead and become your competition. Identify their weaknesses and strengths and keep them in mind as you develop your own strategy. You may be planning a very local-based business but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from similar businesses working many miles away. With the internet they should also be seen as competitors, if people can find them, they may also be willing to travel to them.

6 Identify your potential partners

Certainly as a start-up you won’t be able to have a full team of experts on your books. You may think you can do it all and you may want to do it all but if that is your attitude you are doomed to failure. Identify your strengths and then identify your personal and business weaknesses too. Now have a look around, who do you know who could fill in those gaps and compliment what you can offer? Your partners need not be business partners in the true sense of the word either. They could be third-party outsource businesses that you can refer to and rely on to provide certain aspects of your business. Use people’s strengths and your business will become much more efficient and an efficient business is much better to reach success and profits.

These 6 elements are not impossible to achieve or address, but if you deal with them first before you are already embroiled in the intricacies of your business you will find life is much easier to progress.

Do you have a seventh top tip for those looking to start up in business?