Often the first step in taking your business idea from thought to reality is getting financial support to make it happen. Whether you’re talking to a bank, government agency or investors, you will need to sell them your idea. You need to convince them that customers are willing to buy your product or service and why. You should have the answers to the following questions to make sure they fully understand your idea for a product or service and why it will become a viable business:
- What are your customers’ needs?
- Where are you aiming to sell? Where do your customers usually buy?
- When/ and how often do your customers need to buy?
- How much do customers usually pay?
- Why will they buy from you? Why are you different?
- Who do you hope to sell to?
The answers to these questions will form the essence of your plan for starting the business. You should have a draft of your plan written and make an appointment to see an advisor at the agency or bank you are seeking support from. They will help you address any gaps and take you through their application process and paperwork. Each agency or bank will have their own application form, but start with your own business plan. The information in this will allow you to fill out any necessary forms.
Whether you qualify for support from the Galway County and City Enterprise Board (GCCEB) or not, we can offer practical support in helping you answer these questions and complete your business plan. The first step is to make an appointment to see an experienced business start-up specialist face-to-face. These sessions are free and last 30 minutes. You should leave this session armed with the necessary two or three steps you need to take to progress your idea. You can request these sessions as often as necessary as you progress your idea. If your business qualifies for support, you will also be taken through the application form and process for evaluation of proposals to the GCCEB. If you are progressing with a bank or investors, your advisor or intermediary will take you through their process.
The next articles in this series will focus on practical guidance on marketing, identifying your customer and how to really research your market.