9 Major Steps for Starting Your Business
1. Test your product with real customers
a) Get a minimum viable product (MVP) working
Your goal should be to test whether your customers are going to buy your product and what they are willing to pay for it.
To do this you do not need to have your final product ready. If you do have it ready, then great! You can use that.
If you don’t have your product or prototype ready, then simply copy an existing product or import one, and change the packaging. Think of other ways to improve it also, don’t just copy even though it is just a test.
There are many examples of this practice. One such is RedBull. The founder simply imported packages of a drink that had already been made in Thailand. He changed the packaging and went onto the street to test it. People liked it and were willing to pay the same if not more than a can of Coca Cola. Once he knew that he started importing more.
If you need a website. Also start in a simple way. Improve your social media activity through Facebook (B2C) or LinkedIn (B2B) or create a simple WordPress website using www.wordpress.com. If you are willing and able to invest a little bit more, you might consider paying a professional to create one for you.
b) Get on to the streets – Sell it! Go to customers and ask if they like it
You can also upload your products into an existing e-commerce site and test if the product is being viewed and ordered. It is advisable to create a test through samples to see people’s thoughts of your product in a direct communication.
If your customers like your product, then look up similar products on amazon.com, ebay.com, suoq.com, jumia.com, alibaba.com, etc.
Overview their specifications, pricing, marketing tactics, etc. and work on your added value propositions. There is always room for improvement or additional benefit.
2) How to get interest from Financiers – the light approach
You do not need to write a full business plan and financial plan yet. First prepare yourself with a fact-sheet, a cash flow model and your pitch.
a) Get a factsheet ready
Prepare a 1-page summary of your business with a link to your website for your products.
Download –> Fact Sheet Example
Download –> Investor-Fact-Sheets-Template
b) Make a simple Cash flow model
With the link below you can start making a simple cash flow model of your business. Initially the financier will want to see that. If the financier wants to know more then you can do the financial plan afterwards.
Download the template –> Cashflow Model
c) Practice your 2-minute Pitch
Prepare a 2-minute pitch.
Your Pitch should contain the following parts:
Who are you?
Pain statement: What is the problem?
Value proposition: What is your solution?
What is your need (financial or advice)?
What is the return on investment?
Practice your pitch in front of a mirror.
When it is good. Then record it on a video with your smartphone or other device and publish it on YouTube.
You can share the pitch with a financier per email, but better is to plan a meeting.
The goal of the pitch is not to get financing. It is to GET A SECOND MEETING.
Download the Pitch Document –> pitch doc bidx
Usually financiers don’t follow up immediately. You should follow-up.
If you keep following up, asking for new meetings. It is not irritating, you are showing your commitment.
Keep following up, and don’t give up!
3) The Business and Financial Plan
When the Financier wants more information you can consider working out a full business plan and financial plan if he asks for it.
Here you can Download a full business plan template
Download the Business Plan Template –> bidx Business Plan Template
Download the Financial plan Template –> bidx Financial Plan template