Ready to start your new business?
I may not know you personally however, there are a number of things as an objective bystander that encourage me to believe that you are actually ready to start your own business.
Statistics are just that, you can search around and find lots about startup’s that will either inspire you or not to follow this idea you have to do something differently.
The reality is you have already decided for one or more of these good reasons; you will be your own boss, a passion for the project, an opportunity has presented itself or just the corporate world does not serve you anymore.
So go forward and be confident! More than half of all businesses survive into their fourth year of trading. Also sometimes being naive as to how to finance or target your business allows you to be creative and test multiple models before you launch.
Some guidance can always be helpful and maybe these questions will clarify your ambition.
Are you clear on the business purpose?
Of course you are. It can be helpful for others though if you can describe this is one easy sentence, cover what the business does and what benefits it will bring to customers. For example “technology for better lives improvement”.
What money will you use to fund this business?
Many people start out with the idea of gaining investment and while attractive, it can take time and often the Venture Capital firms (VC’s) are looking for businesses generating revenues. The VC may only make a minimum investments, which could be more than you require.
Finally before you apply, your pitch to be slick, think “Dragons Den” and you will avoid common pitfalls.
A list of London early stage VC’s you can pitch;
Connect Ventures http://www.connectventures.co/
DN Capital http://dncapital.com/
EIS Angel Co-Investment http://www.lbangels.co.uk/
Frontline Ventures http://www.frontline.vc/
Hoxton Ventures http://www.hoxtonventures.com/
Mosaic Ventures http://www.mosaicventures.com/
Passion Capital http://passioncapital.com/
Santander InnoVentures http://www.siv.vc/
White Star Capital http://www.whitestarvc.com/
Alternative Funding routes
If you are considering a tech for good or social enterprise model look to those specialists such as;Big Society Capital https://www.bigsocietycapital.com.
A simpler way to start could be personal funds or family and friends as they are a great way to build out a minimum viable product.One big caveat being can you afford it?
Do think carefully if you can take 6–12 months of living costs from your savings and what other money will you need?
So you have had the light bulb moment, defined what it will cost and ways you can fund it.
Before considering getting going, here are a few more hopefully helpful suggestions to ensure you are ready to launch.
What does the customer proposition look like?
Have you been able to find your specific market, is the option to sell business to business more effective than business to consumer?
Define you commercial model
Please don't undervalue yourself or your product. Research the market and look in depth at your competition, even if their products are different but offering a similar service. You can undercut average market price, however can you afford to do this?
Describe your impact
This is probably the hardest part of any new business, a little similar to when you tried to obtain your first job, everyone required experience yet until someone gave you that chance to work, you could not prove either your value or skills.
With your business developing an academic and/or economic cost benefit model is a real plus. Even if this isn’t immediately apparent keep probing and questioning the logic, so you can face challenging questions when you pitch.
Have you assessed how to make good connections in your sector to test the proposition?
Revise your social media profiles to reflect the new business and ensure your personal branding is professional and approachable.
Finally ready to start?
Well then there is no time like the present, keep focused on your immediate and future goals and I am sure you will achieve.