Before you begin shopping for commercial space or even figure out a name for your business, you have a lot of planning to do when you want to start a new company. You must be able to answer specific questions about this new business before you are ready to take action.
When you have answers for these questions, you increase the chance of success for your new endeavor.
- What is Your Business Idea and What Makes It Unique?
- What Makes You Stand Out from the Competition?
- What are Your Goals for the Business in 1 Year, 5 Years or 10 Years?
1. What is your business idea and what makes it unique?
The first step in planning for your business is to decide what your business will do. Are you providing a service or a product? Will it be multiple services or products that complement each other or perhaps be subcategories under your main product?
For instance, with the ice cream shop, you could offer ice cream cones, sundaes, and shakes or you could just stick with a unique creation, such as the Double Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream Treat – a secret recipe your mother used to make.
What makes your business unique? An article by American Express writer Brian Moran proclaims there are seven characteristics a business can have to make it stand out from the competition
- Customer service
- Offbeat humor
2. What makes you stand out from the competition?
Once you have an idea for your business, you must decide what makes it unique from the competition. What will customers get with you that they won’t find with Mr. Jones’ Ice Cream Shoppe down the street?
It’s this uniqueness that you will promote in your marketing. When you advertise, you will continually drive home the point that you aren’t like everyone else. For the example of the ice cream shop near campus, location will be your selling point.
A laundromat may offer convenient hours by staying open until midnight. An online ecommerce store may provide free shipping for just $25 in orders when the competition requires $50. As long as you can say your business is the only one that offers this feature or does this job better, you can stand out from your competitors.
Part of this aspect of planning is to know who your competition is. In some cases, it isn’t just the guy down the street. You may be competing with all of the companies with an online presence. It’s important to make a list of all your competitors and find out as much as you can about them, so you know how to position your business correctly to succeed.
3. What are your goals for the business in 1 year, 5 years, or 10 years?
When you start a new business, you want it to succeed. Part of what determines that success is planning for the future. Think about where you want your business to be in 5 or 10 years. Will you expand to a new location or add new services or products? How many employees do you want to add?
When you are able to answer these questions, it’s time to create a written business plan. This document provides the basis for your business operations. It includes your key business goals, plans for reaching them and what components will be necessary to their achievement.
Your business plan keeps you on track to meeting your goals. At the same time, it’s often called a living document by the fact that it changes as you discover your business needs to make adjustments.
The Bottom Line: While most people want to jump into their new business, it pays to take time to establish your plans. By answering these questions and writing them down in a formal business plan, you are one step ahead of those who fail to do this.
The Bottom Line: Registering your business is an important step in setting up and starting your company. Take the time to do it right and avoid headaches and hassles in the future.
Originally published at SmallBusinessTalk.ca.