Roll-out ready The business launch checklist

After coming up with a business idea, the next step is, of course, to start selling or offering the service to customers. This involves capital, which you may or may not possess on the onset. So to prevent mishaps, preparation is required.

This guide is for those who are already set on their business idea and are ready to take the plunge into the exciting yet merciless world of entrepreneurship. It may entail additional due diligence, but that extra effort will pay off once the business takes off.

Inside out

Knowing every aspect of your business is paramount. You should determine if your technical know-how is enough to create the product or deliver the service. Working solo has the advantage of greatly reducing the cost of operations initially, but it can be severely demanding.

Studying the location is an equal priority. Is your product a necessity in the target location? If not, then an alternative spot should be considered.

Another concern is finding a reliable supplier for the conceived product. Keep back-up sources near because supply chain can be interrupted from time to time.

Scouting ahead

After finalizing a location, it is time to get up close and personal with your prospective customers. The goal is to find out if your offering is essential to their needs. For instance, if your type of product is not sold in the chosen location, ask where they purchase it, why they buy it, and other queries that can fine tune your product.

If you are planning to sell food items, any snack vendor in the area can and should be considered a competitor. Observe how they sell, how their customer service is like, and then identify the areas where they are lacking. Also note their pricing; they may seem expensive at first, but they may be of high quality.

But is that market worth fighting over? Evaluate the size of the market to learn if it is worth pursuing or not. A large market can accommodate more players and turn up more customers. To compute for the market size by value, multiply the total number of units sold by all competing firms in the area by price.

Right messages

A neophyte’s market share is understandably small, so the challenge is to increase its scope over time. Take note of the different personas that need to be reached. What message can appeal to a working single mother, a college student, or a retiree? Knowing who to talk to and what to say can help create the appropriate promotional materials that can lead to more sales.

Charted flow

Create a flowchart that shows a business’ entire process, from the acquisition of raw materials to collecting payables. In sum, it is a visual guide of the things that need to happen and who are involved to keep a business running like clockwork. Flow charts are an integral element of quality control and process improvement that you can and should develop even at the earliest stages of the enterprise.

Lined up

It is always a good idea to check if you are on track. A timeline consists of the action needed to be taken, inclusive dates, and corresponding costs. This document is useful in determining the necessary steps needed to complete the preparations before a launch.

Timelines may include getting permits, renting a space, purchasing equipment and ingredients, hiring staff, and creating promotional materials. A detailed list can also include a risk log containing potential issues and solutions.

(Continued in Part II)