The Christmas and New Year season traditionally indulge our sense of nostalgia and the holidays allow us the time to reflect on what we have done and achieved during the year. Since this series of articles started in January, I have explored the pre start up planning that you should complete before starting up a business and it’s a good time to review and capture the key points made during the year.
This series started by exploring the important factor in any start up – you, the individual, and the personal skills, self-belief and motivation you possess. In essence, self-employment is not for the faint hearted and you must have the passion, vision and determination to make it happen for yourself.
The journey from business concept to making it happen was described. The necessity to pre-plan and the need to develop a business plan was outlined. The importance of market research to this process was underlined, establishing that you are providing a product or service that people will want and value is fundamental to the success of any start up. Simple principles of carrying out market research and conducting a true competitor analysis were illustrated. This information was used to develop into a detailed business plan.
Business planning consumed most of the subject matter of the articles throughout the year. Whilst the topic of business planning can turn the most determined promoter into a shivering wreck, the articles attempted to simplify and de-mystify the process. Rudyard Kipling’s poem was used to describe the fundamental elements to be included in all business plans: “I keep six honest serving-men: (They taught me all I knew), their names are What and Why and When And How and Where and Who. Specifically:
- What are your customers’ needs?
- Why will they buy from you? Why are you different?
- When/how often do your customers need to buy?
- How much do customers usually pay?
- Where are you aiming to sell? Where do your customers usually buy?
- Who do you hope to sell to?
The remaining articles outlined supports to help you through the above process and encouraged all prospective start-ups to avail of training and networking to maximize their chance of success. The use of the business plan to access finance needed to start a business was described and government supports summarised.
The Galway County and City Enterprise Board is the first point of contact for all start-ups. We support and nurture new and existing business in the area. Budgets for 2013 have been confirmed so make sure to contact us to access training, advice and other supports for your business.