Business Launch 101: How To Start Up Your Start-UpPosted by Jessica Oman
If you’re on our web site or social media sites, EVER, then you know we’re planning a (not-so) little event on February 13 called From Idea to Open: How to Plan + Launch Your Dream Company. We’ll be talking about how to take your big idea and turn it into a business. I thought I’d offer a little preview of what you’re going to learn when we talk about business plan writing (uh, by the way, are you in Vancouver? Then why don’t you have your ticket yet?).
It’s a tall order, but I want to make the idea of writing a business plan kind of…exciting. And fun. And creative. All while helping you learn to think like a business owner. So here it is: Business Launch 101. Here’s how to start up your start-up – even if you have no money and no connections.
Step 1: Figure out why anyone should buy it.
Define your cool new product. List all the reasons why it’s super awesome (no really, go do it now. On paper. Or on a screen, or a Pinterest board – whatever works for you). These are the FEATURES of your product. Next, write down what BENEFIT your customers will enjoy when they buy that feature. These are all the reasons why people might buy your product.
You make gourmet hot dogs. The FEATURES are:
- Fresh ingredients
- Quality ingredients, including organic veggies
- Unusual flavours
- Hormone-free meat
- People can get more nutrition and still enjoy their favourite “junk” food
- People get full – these dogs are huge!
- Buyers enjoy yummy tastes
- Buyers feel better about eating more ethically sourced food
Step 2: Figure out what it costs to make it.
You’re in business to make money, right? So you need to know exactly what it costs to make one widget. Our resident hot dog chef has to pay for the ingredients to make the hot dog, but don’t forget he also has to pay for the wrappers that the dogs come in. He has to pay for gas or electricity to heat the stove or BBQ. And he has to pay for all those condiments that people are going to spill on the ground anyway. (Don’t forget the napkins!)
There’s also staffing costs and operations to worry about – but you’ll have to grab our business plan writing guide to learn more about that.
Step 3: Figure out who will run it.
You’re probably going to need some staff to make this thing go, so figure what you need done and create some positions. Give those positions some titles and reporting relationships – in other words, create an organizational chart. At first, you might be filling all of the positions – but eventually, you want to have a plan to step out of most of those roles and stick to what you’re best at and what drives you towards your long-term business goals.
Step 4: Figure out how much of it you can sell.
While there are some businesses that explode out of the gate and become huge companies really fast, this is probably not going to happen to you. So if your revenue projections follow a hockey stick growth pattern, it’s likely time to reassess how much product you can really sell with the resources that you have. How much volume can you suppliers handle? How much stock will your store hold? How long does a typical transaction take? All of these things help you determine your capacity, which is essentially the upper limit on how much you can sell without making changes to the way you operate.
Starting a Business is Simple
Well actually, it’s not that simple, but it’s less complicated than you think. We’ll give you some extra tips on February 13 – but if you’re not in our area and you want some more guidance, please leave a comment – what do you most want to know about how to start a business?