How do I start my own company?
I would like to open a water purification company. I have my own capital but need to know where to start. What are some of the obstacles most of you missed when opening your own company and only learned later on?
Well, first of all you need a good starting point where you decide what will your businees revolve around. Is it sales or service providing of some sort or even something else? Lets say it is sales and for example you want to sell freestanding bathtubs like these https://www.aquaticausa.com/category/freestanding-bathtubs , the smart thing to do is to get a website and make sure you have moeny to make your initial investment. After that it is a little bit complicated, but some people have already answered that for me.
You have to get practical, stop thinking "how", start thinking "when"
You have to make a business plan, get investment, think of a name for the company, which business to start, get your staff etc...
Seems like a hell of a list to start on, but take my advise you do not need to do all these things before the start. All you need to do is to start it of. Go and get your company name registered and start something. All the above mentioned things will be covered as you progress.
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I can answer this from personal experience with the three companies my business partner and I built.
I would say the first was truly “from scratch” as the others have built on each other with the network and experience we gained.
It all started with seeing a problem and thinking of a more convenient potential solution. If your company doesn’t do this, it doesn’t have a place in the market.
I was working in banking in NYC as an Analyst when I noticed how poor internal communication and collaboration was. Everything was siloed and inefficient. I knew how drastically productivity, organization, and decision making could change if a better solution was introduced than internal email.
My partner and I built Hibox to solve the problems we saw. We used a bootstrapped team of developers and designers we had connections with. Our skills complement each other (as well as our team) which was hugely important while small. We built Hibox to fulfill all the “I wish I could….” statements we experience working in an office. We used the platform ourselves (and do today) to continue to improve.
Once we were at a functional point, we went after raising money to put towards building our sales team and perfecting Hibox.
The biggest thing is there will always be resources, there will always be a way to get out of the red, there will always be sales, as long as you are providing a solution people need and want.
Nail this down first and the doors to the rest will open. We’re now used by 10,000 teams, have offices in South America and Europe, and are on to our next product, a solution to another problem we experienced.
Every company needs a good website, so I recommend you to think about it. Take a look at the service from https://weblium.com I am sure that the guys from there will make a perfect website for your business which you will find very nice and helpful to you. Hope you will find it useful, good luck ;)
Let me tell you one thing, "You Can't Learn from Others' Mistakes".
I started it in 2014 and wanted to create a firm who helps other in making buying decisions. I wanted to make sure that they make informative decision, and the little i know that people can't make informative decision. They want to go with mass and not information.
So, I learned it hard way, that you must understand your customers mentality and behaviour before you start.
You can find more information about my firm here - https://homefrik.com
Great question Carike! I am in a very similar business situation to you. Can you update us on any progress you made in the last year? I would be interested to hear.
In my experience, the best method to ensure that growth is being optimised and cash flow is being well managed is to do the following:
1. Know what you do and what you don't do
2. Running a business well is different than being good at a trade or profession
3. Challenge yourself to always keep improving
4. Consider financial implications
Find out more information at https://merchcash.com/resources/post/startup-business-loans/
I would suggest you, te make a business case, it is important to cover all the angles of the business you are trying to put up, from the human structure, going through marketing, comercialization and finance.
I would strongly recommend you to look at finance part, in order to determine how much you need, and the time when you will need the funds. Also take into consideration a couple of months of operating expenses in your cashflow projectios.
I recommend creating a detailed business plan with a competitive analysis. This will help to set the direction and groundwork. Next will be a marketing plan - focus on WHO your target customer is and WHY they should buy from you instead of a competitor? What will you do better than everyone else?
The #1 question is…why? Why are you opening it? I can connect you with an incredible international organization (that installs water purification/well systems globally) that can help you answer your logistical questions. Help me understand why you want to do this…and I may be able to help you connect to people that can assist you in getting it done.
My first business, in '87 was selling water purification units. A lot has changed since then, obviously. Back then I was cold calling neighborhoods, trying to get a demonstration in the home. Now, the Internet and follow-ups make it so much easier.
Your biggest obstacle, may be price/competition. Overcoming, bottled water business and price it costs for water unit. Mine ranged from $150-$3000.
My suggestion is to do a well written, produced demonstration of your product removing chemicals, etc. One demonstration I loved to do was show people how to take a shot of whiskey, and turn it into pure water, with my portable unit. Make it dynamic.
Once you complete that share it on social media and continue giving out the importance of have great pure water!
Hi Carike! Here's the link to a resource that just came in that might be helpful to answering your question: http://www.mosaichub.com/resources/resource/15-articles-you-should-read-before-pitching-startu
Avoid these common start up mistakes and start getting noticed earlier on in the growth stage. Hope this helps & good luck!
You are in for a wonderful adventure.
Here is some food for thought about planning your business at http://www.paladinandassociates.com/articles/the-ten-keys-to-a-successful-business-plan/.
Well, if you have started, Id say start with your branding. Think of how you want to present yourself to the world. Start small, and get a logo, business cards and maybe a website if your at that point. Get yourself on as many social platforms as you can, and market your rear off. If you need some design help, Im always taking orders. https://marthalynnlaskie.squarespace.com
Instead of answering your question myself, I posed it to my class at Southern New Hampshire University since we're discussing entrepreneurship this week. My FIN-320 students had great ideas for you! Here are their suggestions:
I think the biggest hurdle is being careful not to underestimate the amount of capital needed to start. There are countless forms to fill out, logos to trademark, and all kinds of rules to comply with that can end up costing a lot of money. Also, I think it would behoove her to hire someone to work on the financial aspect of her business. If she is planning on wearing all the hats associated with running a business, she will need to not only be in sales, but also the marketing department, legal department, accounting department, HR department, etc. A mistake made early on can end up being very costly at the end of a fiscal year. Lastly, I think having a good business plan is a key to success; bear in mind, 6 months down the road, it may all change, but I think it helps to actually see things on paper instead of keeping it all in your head. -Karie Smith
This is a great question, First I will say say that I fully agree with the posting that Karie has written.I would also add though that water purification must have some serious quality control requirements and even government over site depending on what the water will be used for or what it was prior to getting purified. If there is government guideline then I would nearly guarantee that the forms, fees, and time line will be longer than anticipated. Again as Karie mentioned the client would be best to consider financial help at least initially. That would help her navigate some financial obstacles and allow her to focus on the process and business aspects so she is not overburdened and can focus her energy and attention better. -John Lund
I do believe with starting a business paperwork and preparation is key, make sure the right applications for permits, applications and insurances are applied and acquired. Credit line and LLC's need to be arranged so the capital can be tracked easily when dealing with any expenses. A proper business plan of what you want to accomplish is a must! Knowing where you want to set up base and who to employ and how your product will be distributed should also be apart of the plan as well. -Humberto Rios
I agree with my classmates. Business plan, capitol, logo, location, marketing strategy are all important. It is also important to be flexible, re-evaluate & revise the business plan as needed. Change as the compnay grows will be constant and should be embraced! -Pamela Fisher
Since capital is available,the next step would be to register or incorporate a business name.Thereafter,apply for a tax identification number with which you can make payment on taxes with ease to the government on services carried out to the customers.
One of my mentors wisely told me, "There are no points in business for degree of difficulty." Keep it simple and elegant. Don't spend a nickel unless it directly impacts revenue generation.
Carike, I don't know the laws in South Africa, but I assume you have someone there who does. Make sure you have all needed permits and licenses. The next thing I would recommend is to set sales and operations milestones for 3 months from start, 6 months from start, and 1 year from start. Check your progress at each of those points. You don't have to hit the milestones exactly, but if you are way off - either better or worse - you should reset the business model to reflect your realities. I have worked with several startups, and started two companies on my own. I have seen both problems, growth faster than anticipated with then an inability to respond to customers and growth or operations worse than anticipated and not recognizing it before it had created problems for the startup. Finally, stay flexible. I have never seen a startup go exactly as expected - and that is OK. Let the business develop along the lines of least resistance until it has crticial mass.
I am not sure of the legalities in South Africa (and many of the answers relate to the USA) but these are worth checking out before going too far. Some countries in Europe insist you deposit substantial guarantees (actual cash) to cover against you going bust and leaving debts. Even a local tax office should be able to advise or send you to the local body that can help.
To create the business (as others have said) it is best to have a plan in your mind, then try to put it down in writing. This helps show the parts you haven't fully thought through.
The level of detail depends on if you need to convince anyone about your business (bank for loans etc). If not, it is just your directional guide.
Make sure you fully cost out your offer/product/service including getting it to your customers.
Before investing too much, test and understand your market, competition and opportunity. Whar is your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) i.e. why someone should buy from you rather than a competitor. If it is just price, larger competitors can probably match you for a while (and survive) just to keep you down/out.
Also as mentioned in a post, if you can get an agreed deal to supply (profitably) right at the start this may cover your overheads while you get going.
Hope this is of help and good luck.
Although the SBA provides useful information on its website, SBA will refer you to your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC), SCORE,. or Women's Business Center for no-cost assistance. Visit: https://www.sba.gov/tools/local-assistance/sbdc