Many people dream of running their own business, but it isn’t always a decision to be taken lightly. There are hurdles and stumbling blocks throughout, meaning that being properly prepared before beginning to trade can be vital.

To ensure that everything is in place for your business, and you don’t get off to a false start, it could help to take a look at the checklist below.

Establish a business plan

If you have decided to run your own company, establishing a detailed business plan is incredibly important. This is where potential investors will analyse your prospects and assign a value to your fledgling business. If there are any gaps in your plan, they’ll quickly be identified, and you could have some tricky questions to answer.

Be honest and start modestly; planning for ten times more profit than you can realistically expect could lead to gross overestimates. Planning the finer details of how to get cash flowing as soon as possible is also important.

Check finances

Other action points include making sure that overheads, expenses and profits are carefully worked out before the launch of your product or service. Why not do some research into other companies that may be operating in the same area; could their own figures and costings act as a template for your own needs?

Remember, the first couple of years are the most important to a business, so it could actually be a good idea to overestimate expenses and underestimate turnover, to avoid any nasty surprises.

Find premises

When searching for that all-important premises, there are many questions that could be running through your mind: Does it need to be large? Does it need to be small? Do I even need large premises just yet?

Bigger buildings and office spaces are, naturally, more expensive, so it makes sense that even if, in ten years’ time, you plan to dominate your chosen market, it could be a good idea to only start with the space you need. You can often find a good deal on premises by exploring online options – sometimes buildings have been vacant for a while, meaning prices can often get slashed.

After giving the above points some careful consideration, and you feel confident that everything is in hand, you may well be ready to set up and go. Just remember to pay heed to warnings about not jumping in too soon. After all, you know what they say: ‘failing to prepare is preparing to fail’, so don’t be afraid to lay aside as much time as you need to lay the proper foundations.

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Open Data Institute Knowledge for Everyone / Flickr.com