It’s a fact that some people are not content with their current job and are looking for more challenges but are wary of the loss of security this may entail. Many others have that urge to start a business but are not sure when, where and how to make the jump to relying upon themselves. Starting out a business can seem overwhelming. Issues such as what you really want to sell, the legal technicalities of starting up a business, developing your business and marketing strategies and building that all important, customer base are just some of the initial obstacles entrepreneurs face. Here’s 4 steps for you to follow. 1. Form and define your ideas. Work out what you want to sell, in what format and who you want to sell it to. Find out what your potential competitors are doing and work out what you can do that is slightly different and preferably better. Talk to your friends and associates and get feedback – good or bad about your ideas. Look at other similar businesses in order to gain an appreciation of the market need for your idea and how large the market size is likely to be. Once you understand the potential of your business, you should name your company and register it as a legal entity, obtain all the licenses that you need and do not forget your insurance – you don’t want to lose your business and your life savings before you even start. 2. Test your ideas with small groups of potential buyers. Ask them for feedback and ideas of how to improve them. Get a market stall or a booth in a shopping mall and hand out free samples in exchange for their comments – people loving being asked for their comments. The number of people who are happy to try your free samples gives you an indication of popular your product will be. If you have a service, go to a conference and exhibition, get a small stand and offer your services at “introductory rates” or with added extras such as reports, books or training. Look at all the different ways that you can pack your products or services. Maybe there is a market out there that you will discover as your test out your new business. Continually look for a niche market that you can jump into. A niche is a small market, usually with a dedicated following but with few suppliers. Many companies have made fortunes jumping into or making their own niches. Before Dominoes – pizzas were never delivered. Before Tupperware you did not buy things at a party. Ford was the first business to mass produce automobiles. Get the picture? Continually get feedback – good or bad – and ACT upon it. Make notes; refine your plans, your products and your market as you go along. Look at how you sell and package them, where and when the best place to sell them is as well as your pricing structure. 3. Define your strategies with the aim of developing a loyal client base, having an efficiently running business and retaining existing clients. Develop a business strategy that sells your products or services in such a manner that your cash flow and profits are maximized. Make sure that your business model works. This means that your goods and services are designed, packaged and delivered in an efficient manner. You have just enough stock, your prices are at their most effective level, and that the costs of fulfilling each order are as low as possible. Define your marketing strategy to ensure that you have differentiated yourself from the competition and made your products and services compelling and a necessity to your potential customers. Ensure that you have established your brand that is how your customers will recognize your company, your products and what you stand for. Once you’ve done this, formalize them all, alongside your financial needs, your market analysis and your company information in your business plan. Most importantly, make sure that you stand out from the crowd, meet the needs of your potential customers and make a profit whilst having fun! 4. Implement your strategies raise capital with your business plan and confirm the financial capabilities of your business. Set up your fulfillment route, that is, how you obtain your orders, how you manage your customers and how you deliver the end products to your customers. Remember that you also want to look after your customers after they have received your goods or services. Remember a happy customer will recommend your business and hopefully come back for more. Remember also to set up such items as manufacturing, storage, packaging, transport and confirmation of delivery. If need be set up payment processing and banking facilities. Set up your web site and telephones, offices and make sure that your staff are trained. Set your marketing plan in motion and all the associated processes so that you can meet, greet and make your customers happy. Remember, Review, Innovate and Improve.