Published June 23, 2008

I Have a Business Idea – Now Where Do I Start?

The basic advice you normally get before starting a new business venture is research, plan, start and manage (in that order). You've got a great business idea - now what should you do?

What is necessary to transform it from an idea into a profit generating business? We've laid out a few strategies to help you.

Do Your Homework

Your business idea may be simply great, but you should have a solid plan to get it off the ground. To develop a well-structured plan, you'll have to do a good amount of research.

Do not gloss over details, clarify areas you do not understand and get relevant books or attend programs to understand the issues involved in running your type of business. Arm yourself with pen and paper, meet or call potential clients and get their views.

You now have important information, and a network of potential clients. Based on this sound research, formulate your business plan.

Chalk Out a Business Plan

Chart out a detailed, well-structured business plan, with four broad categories; namely:

  • Prepare your business description

  • Decide on your marketing strategies

  • Evaluate availability of funds

  • Choose management practices

The business plan will enable you to make accurate profit/loss forecasts and optimal cash flow projections to equip you with ideas and plans for improvement before you embark on your venture.

You can check out many business plans and business plan guides available on the Internet for reference.

After you write down your business plan, it is time to get a good support system in place.

Build a Support System

When your business plan is ready, it's time to get yourself a support system.

Discuss the pros and cons of your business ideas with a friend, a colleague, an experienced family member or a professional. Use their expertise to get feedback on your business plan. Their input will help your business grow.

Find a mentor, and use their suggestions to guide you through the rough patches. Hire, train and retain your employees and follow fair business practices to enhance their motivation levels.

Sort Out Legal and Tax Matters

Sort out the legal issues at the very beginning. Understand the process of registering your business and follow it to a T.

Learn about workers compensation, insurance policies and payroll taxes. Plan effective tax management policies to avoid paying hefty IRS penalties at year-end. Ensure that all your contracts are legal and in writing.

Different types of contracts include service contracts, rental agreements and leases, purchase orders, offer letters etc.

Get into the habit of providing a receipt to all your customers, and getting one for all services and products that you purchase.

Plan Contingent Strategies

A startup business brings with it a fair amount of mental and financial pressures. Therefore, in conjunction with your business plans, develop strategies to combat these pressures.

Make sure you have sufficient financial backup to support your family in crunch situations. Since every business has a gestation period, you should have enough financial reserve to last you through your business' teething stage, as this will alleviate mental stress and let you to focus on your business.

By following the above steps, you can take your business idea and transform it into a solid, profit-making enterprise.