There is no right time to start a business. If an idea, thought, or venture has been on your mind for a while, there’s likely a reason. And it probably means you should pursue it.
But don’t just jumpstart it with zero direction. After all, you don’t know what you don’t know. And the more you don’t know, the more you typically think you know.
When starting a business, think of it as a long game. There’s plenty of planning that goes into it. From researching your target audience and developing your minimum viable product (MVP) to actually putting in blood, sweat, and tears and late nights to making the product or service profitable. It’s not an easy journey.
From lack of product-market fit to failing to plan for other aspects of your business (like financials), there’s a lot to think about before starting a business!
If the idea is still pressing in your mind, maybe it’s time to start today.
Here are some steps to starting a business at any time because there is no right time to start one.
Research to Find Your Niche & Audience
At the heart of every great idea is the audience you intend to service. If there isn’t a target audience who would need or even want your product/service, you don’t have one to sell in the first place.
Doing research is critical to finding out if there is a market for your venture. According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), the top two strategies to discovering your strengths and unique selling propositions, and ultimately identifying your target market, are
- Conducting market research, such as gathering demographic data on age, population, and wealth
- Analyzing both consumer behavior and economic trends
As you develop your business idea, survey your target audience to understand how you can solve their problems and meet their needs. Social media platforms like Facebook, Tik Tok and Instagram are viable places to find and solicit information from your target audience.
For example, let’s say you’re struggling with back pain and you sit on your office chair hours on end. The obvious is to start looking for products that can fix your posture. Instead of just researching on Google, you could join Facebook groups and engage with likeminded people. Alternatively, if you are familiar with Tik Tok’s For You page, start posting about these issues to see if community members say the same in the comments. Digging a little deeper by leveraging social media’s algorithms to your advantage during the initial research phase is key.
Develop and Test your MVP
It was the year 1999. A young man couldn’t find a particular pair of shoes (brown Airwalk Desert Chukko boots, to be exact) at a San Francisco mall close to his place. Frustrated, he decided to sell shoes online.
That was the defining moment when his MVP was born.
Instead of conducting extensive and expensive research, Nick Swinmurn built a basic website and began selling shoes from shoe stores on his website. He first approached shoe stores and begin taking photos of their shoes. On receiving orders, he would purchase the shoes directly from the store and shipped them out.
Coined by Frank Robinson, a MVP is the version of a new product a team uses to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.
Just like Nick and many other leading entrepreneurs, all you need beside a good idea is a MVP to start learning from your potential target audience. Building an MVP should be as low in overhead and inexpensive as possible. From there, take your pen and penpad out to jot down learnings!
Consider Time, Energy, and Resources
Starting a new venture is always exciting. But in the entrepreneurial journey, the hardest thing (and the top reason why most startups fail) is the lack of consistency. If your current business is already taking up nights and weekends consistently, you might want to re-think the venture. A large part of running a successful business is the ability to sustain it—for the long term. The bottom line is to be honest with yourself (and your family) with how much time, energy, and resources you need to successfully grow and expand your new business.
Think About Accounting
New business owners easily overlook the implications that surround accounting and bookkeeping—and how you choose to set the foundation up. When starting any new venture, it’s important to look at it through the lens of accounting.
For example, business and personal finances should never mix. You should always consider the tools and system you plan to use to manage all tracking, record keeping, and most importantly, invoicing for your new business.
Double-entry accounting software lets you manage your business expenses or both. The majority of modern accounting software should allow you to automate your accounting workflow and ensure all transactions and numbers are up-to-date.
And if you need the ability to customize your chart of accounts, such as creating personal accounts outside of your business income, then our accounting tool, Kashoo, has all the functionality you would need!
Ready to start your business?
The idea of starting a business you’re passionate about is always going to come with thrill and excitement. But take caution in the planning phases: whether it’s doing research on your audience, developing an MVP to test, considering bandwidth, and viewing your venture through a financial lens, don’t skip out on any of these important steps.
While we can’t necessarily help you conduct market research, develop an MVP, or tell you how much effort you need to put in to be successful, we can help you with streamlining accounting. Here at Kashoo, we’ve developed accounting tools that help small business owners at every step of the entrepreneurial journey. Whether that’s just starting out, or have been in business for a while, we understand that every business needs very different things out of bookkeeping.
Only looking to send your first few invoices to a new client? Send one for free today with TrulySmall Invoices!
Looking for double-entry accounting software to automate bookkeeping and track invoices and expenses? Try our 14-day free trial with TrulySmall Accounting.
Seeking a more comprehensive accounting solution that lets you customize and conduct detailed reporting? Try our 14-day free trial with Kashoo.