Having an idea for a business is something many of us will have had but few actually progressed it to living reality?
Often the reason is simply that you don’t have the up front finance to start the ball rolling. Everyone has heard the term ‘cash flow is king’. That is as true now as it has ever been. You need cash up front in most businesses to purchase equipment, premises and employ staff to name but a few.
For a few years now the government have been providing start up loans to help businesses start. The main criteria was that you had to be between 18 and 24. Later that changed to 30 years old. This removed access to a massive pool of talent during a time when redundancies from public and private sector providers has been high. Many of these people have aspirations and ideas which they may have kept bottled up due to a secure job with a monthly salary and security built in. That is no longer a guarantee and the future of a job for life is becoming fast a thing of the past.
The most important thing to do if you have an idea for a business which delivers a product or a service is to get the idea down on paper. This might be a notebook, computer software or create a picture of it on a large sheet of paper. When you can picture it in your mind you are part way to starting. Put down everything you are thinking about, particularly thinking about who is your target customer/client, who are others doing similar and may be called your competitor, what is it you need to get started, how you might promote your company to others.
At this stage you will have effectively made an excellent start on your ‘business plan’.
When you have identified these areas you will realise that there is a cost to most of them. Some might be physical financial costs and others your time and commitment. You may already have assets to put into the business such as finance, property or materials.
At this stage you have started to develop your Cash Flow. This is a critical part of your business plan. By recording what you need to live on each month you will create a personal survival plan, then you need to record what it will cost each month to run the business and from that you will know what you need to make in order to draw sufficient to meet your personal survival plan and also make a profit.
Having reached this point you will know whether you already have the financial support to start the business or need to consider a business loan.
If you feel you need a loan then it is time to do some research. There are many delivery agents/partners who will loan money to start-up companies.
For me one of the best is the relatively new Virgin Start Up Ltd.
They are well connected to the Government delivery arm under Lord Young and James Caan and have their own worldwide brand to support them. In addition they have no top end age restriction so will consider applicants from 18 yrs upward. There only exclusion is if you have been bankrupt or disqualified from directorship.
They can offer from £500 to £25000 and provide a business advisor to help you in submitting your plan and cash flow and if accepted a mentor specifically chosen to help you deliver your plan.