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  • 10 questions to ask yourself before launching a business
    Ten checkpoints for your business idea Are you on a rocket to success or riding a dud? Here are 10 checkpoints your business idea should pass. While it is impossible to accurately predict the success or failure of every new business, there are ways to gauge the viability of an idea. These ten checks will help you determine if your business will succeed or fail. Whilst we have kept these basic we will be happy to provide solutions around some of these via our mentoring program available via the Venture Fund platform. 1. Researching? Researching the potential market is a critical step that is often overlooked or glossed over by budding entrepreneurs. If you do not know who your customers are, approximately how much disposable income they have, and how much they will be willing to pay for your product, you are not prepared. Are you changing behaviour by customers using your products, will it be accepted? Competition, who are you dealing with and how will you be different? How will you raise your barrier to entry? Who will work with you to scale the business? How much investment will the business require and what sensitivities have you put in place in case you miss your numbers? What is your go to market plan? These are just some of the basics that one will need to address. 2. How will you structure your revenue streams? Do you know what to charge? How will you create diverse revenue streams? How does your competition package their offerings, and how will your business be different? What happens if you sell overseas, will you need distributors, what are the local import tax implications? 3. Does your business stand out from the crowd? There are no truly “new” ideas in business. Chances are if it’s worth doing, it’s been done. The key to successfully carving out a niche is either to fill a space in the market or to build upon an existing platform. Whatever you plan to offer, you will need to offer something fresh or different to convince customers to buy from you instead of your competitors. 4. Can you defend your borders? Going into business without any idea of how to protect your intellectual property is business suicide. If you have a great idea, you will need to be sure you’ve taken precautions on ensuring you have locked in exclusive suppliers, have a winning product perhaps which is patentable, have a strong management team with stock options and have an investment to scale faster and quicker than your competition. 5. What about pricing? Feasibility studies and market research are critical to determine pricing. If your price is too high, customers will not buy your product. Too low, and you won’t be able to cover costs and make a reasonable profit. So what potential marketing and pricing strategies are you going to deploy such as bundling various offers? 6. Is there room to grow? Is the market large enough to handle expansion in your business? Will you be able to increase profits in the future? How will you scale, what plans have you put in place? 7. Who will you sell to? You can have the most interesting, useful, beautiful product in the marketplace, but if you don’t have customers, you do not have a business. Who are you marketing to and how? What will motivate them to buy your product, and how will you create connections with them? What systems will you put into place to track your customer pipeline and satisfaction scosres? 8. Can you make money? It is amazing how many potential entrepreneurs ignore one of the most critical phases of planning: Creating a budget. Throwing together a product, setting up a shop front, and trusting to luck your income will cover your costs at the end of the month is a sure-fire road to bankruptcy. Be sure to understand the cost of doing business and how many sales you need to generate sufficient income. 9. Do you have money? They say it takes money to make money, and it is true. A cash cushion to support the business (and you!) through those critical early months is a necessity, and it establishes a habit of saving that will serve you well into the future. But naturally your business will require funding to scale. In order to become investment ready it is critical to ensure you have addressed some of the above points. 10. Are you ready to go into business? Working for oneself may sound like a dream come true, but if you are not prepared for the work, worry and effort, which go into running a business, it can quickly become a nightmare. Make an honest assessment of your own drive, skill and passion for continuing even when things get rough. Finally as each business is different in its makeup and approach you will face different markets forces and challenges, the Venture Fund mentoring team will be happy to address any of the above points that may be particular to your business. www.venturefund.com/mentors/
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