How To Launch A New Company

by Tom Egelhoff

The time has finally come. You've thought about it, talked about it, agonized over it, and finally decided to start your own company. So, where do you go from here?

Starting a new company requires a lot of thought and planning. The first part to consider is the creation of a business plan. You'll need the information contained in the business plan to create your start-up strategy.



Elements Of Your Startup

What elements are needed to start a new company? What information must be assembled? What strategy do you follow? Can the business be successful? Here are a few ideas to get you started.



Expertise

The chances are you wouldn't start an accounting firm if you didn't know accounting. To start any business there must be at least one person who has a high level of expertise about the product or service being offered. Others can be brought into the business and be trained, but one principal person must know the product or service intimently.

This person must also be prepared to keep abreast of the advances and changes within the industry to keep the company up to date and competitive.



What's Your Product Or Idea?

Company products sometimes have a way of taking on a life of their own and moving the company in a totally new direction. IBM started as a cable and wire company. MCI, the long distance giant, started as a two-way radio communication company for truckers. Motorola was almost out of business until someone hit on the idea of making radios for cars.

The product you start with isn't always going to be the product you end up with. You will constantly be making adjustments to changes in competition, suppliers and your industry. This is why a business plan is so critical for your business success. It will keep you focused but also allow you to adapt to changes.

Part two of the product process is... can you produce it? How many can you sell, how many can you make? It those two numbers are far apart, you might want to re-think your position.

If you are starting a service business can you perform often enough to make a living? Several years ago there were two pilots who gave flying lessons. They would go out and find customers bring them back and teach them how to fly. As you can imagine they didn't do too well. While they were teaching they couldn't sell. While they were selling they couldn't teach.

They finally got the idea to hire flight instructors. They concentrated on finding customers. As they found more and more customers they simply hired more and more flight instructors. The business was a success because they had found a way to multiply their efforts.



You're Not Alone

"No man is an island", someone once wrote. That is particularly true in business. I can't name a single business person I've known in 30 years who ran a business without the help or advice of others from time to time.

The secret is to make sure the people giving you the help or advice are qualified to do so. Before you start your business, set up an advisory board to look over your business and make suggestions. Surround yourself with people who have done what you want to do. Talk to them on a regular basis. They will often see things you may have overlooked. These should be friends, business associates and qualified advisors. Your accountant, attorney and banker should be included if possible. They all have a vested interest in your success.



Money And Supplies

Most experts agree, business failures are based on two major elements. Bad management and lack of capital. Remember our first element above...Expertise? I said at least one person in the business has to have the expertise to handle the products and services.

In a new business start-up, you are going to be faced with business procedures that you don't know anything about. Accounting, dealing with suppliers, purchasing, payroll, insurance, legal procedures, advertising and marketing. Until you reach the point that you feel comfortable with them, let other qualified people do them for you. However, learn what's going on in your company. If you don't know how to read a balance sheet...learn.



Last But Not least...Customers

Of course, no business can exist without customers. How to get them and where they come from is another challenge to many new business owners. They have no problem producing the widgets but don't have the first clue as to how to sell them. Not everyone is a "people person." Someone who talks easily to others. If you are not a people person, you either need to become one or hire people who are to represent your company.



The Last Word On New Company Start-Up

Starting your small or home-based company requires a lot of pieces coming together. To successfully start a new company you need a good idea, the expertise to make it or do it, the right people to assist you, the monetary resources to support the company and the ability to find enough customers to make the whole thing happen.


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