How to launch a startup business from scratch – The Business Show coverage


Starting a business can be pretty
daunting. From writing a business plan to getting your finances in check, the potential pitfalls can seem never-ending.
But it really doesn’t have to be that taxing, especially if you have a plan in place. So what are the key steps needed to get a business off the ground? We thought we’d ask a few startup gurus to spill the beans. Welcome to The Business Show. 250 seminars, 300 exhibitors and 25,000 new and seasoned entrepreneurs at the Excel Centre in London, networking and sharing valuable advice
on how to turn a skill, hobby, or brilliant idea into a business. Rather than just walk around talking to people, we thought it’d be a good idea to come up with a fictional product. So we came up with… Moonfruit Smoothies. Before all else, spend some time on the market research. [Dee Blick] I think there are probably three areas to this, one is start by looking at your competitors. So what products are they selling that are similar to yours, what are their price points and how do they distribute them? You’ve got to be really careful if you’re
entering a market at a certain price point, that is either higher than competitors, or even a much lower you’ve got to be careful. Much lower could be, is it that good quality? Much higher could be, I’m actually loyal, why should I switch? You’ve got to know your target audience these are the people that want to buy your
products. So not just what they look like but
where do they buy, what are their needs, why do they buy these products, what price are they willing to pay for these products? Also make sure you test your product. But don’t just start with family and friends, they’re bound to say ‘oh that’s great you’ll do so well’. What
you gotta make sure that when you got your prototype with the packaging it is tested with the people that you want to buy and you also talk to channel resellers as well. It might be
the packaging that you love a channel reseller cannot have in a unit various
reasons – the position of the barcode and so on. What I’m trying to get at is you’ve got to cover all those bases. You can’t just have visions about what the audience looks like, you’ve got to get to the nitty gritty of is this a unit that will sell, that I can
take to market, at a price that not only the end user will buy but the channel supplier will pay. How do you do it? Pick up the phone, ask to speak to people, be tenacious. It may sound onerous but I doubt that a
small business or startup has got a deep pocket for market research but there’s so much you can do, simply by
thinking if I want a focus group of people that match my target audience, I’ve got to charm them a bit, which means
picking up the phone and saying… ‘you are one of six people in this area I’m approaching to give me a
little bit feedback on my product’ Make them feel really good about getting
involved in it as well. Thre are free market research services available at InfoTrace you get half an hour of free market
research, you pay £20 per hour thereafter And if I really want to get market
research in a short space of time, I use that service. No business should start without a plan, and here’s why it’s so important. [Nima Kafai] Everybody seems to think making a business plan is a chore but is something that you can use
personally to really see what you want to achieve
with your business. Really you need to know what your revenue streams are who your customers are, and a business plan is a chance for you more than anyone to find out is this
going to work for you, can you run this as a successful business
and is it worth pursuing it. Yes everybody will need help with their
financial but that doesn’t mean you can get someone else to write the whole business plan for you. Yes, get help putting it together but it’s one of the most vital pieces of
activity you can do prior to launching a business. Okay, so you’ve got an idea and a plan is falling into place. But what if you need money to turn that dream into reality? It’s time to talk to the investors. The world has changed, there’s new ways to raising money if you’re young company. The best kind is from a reward-based crowdfunding site like an IndieGoGo or Kickstarter. The second best way is to get a social loan. For example School for Startups launcher loan programme provides under market competitive loans for people who couldn’t otherwise start
a business and the third best ways to go to the equity crowdfunding sites that
have arisen like Crowd Cube and Seeders. How would you advise us to seek funding? We’re new smoothie brand. Well, because you’re a consumer-facing proposition, something people can emotionally tie to, and I presume there’s something about
your smoothies that are better, different new, or original because there has to be. I would jump up on an Indie GoGo or KickStarter site and get the crowd to raise the money for you because it’s the kind of thing people love. Another way to push your business forward is through angel investing. A process familiar to anyone who’s watched BBC’s Dragons Den. Don’t panic. It’s a really weird thing to do to pitch in front of an audience or one-to-one. But what the guy is trying to
break into is your passion. Does he like you as a person, do you
understand the metrics of your business Do you understand what the drivers are, are you going make money, do you understand how to make money? Is someone other than the people in the
office be buying the product? Have you got the price point right, have you the supplier chain right? Can you actually sell something
that is sustainable? That you can repeat that again and again and again. That you’ve done your market
research, that you understand that there are a few people in the marketplace already
innocently playing around with it. But what is your USP (unique selling point)? Why would they buy your product opposed to somebody else’s product? If you’re just another juice in a just
another juice market, no one’s gonna invest because that
person over there could sell just another juice, take your
whole marketplace, and the investments then on disappears. Fnally it comes down to weird
things like how much money do you need? Now it’s a trick question asked by accountants and investment bankers like myself. But actually, it’s really difficult If you’ve never set up a smoothie business before, you don’t know, but you have to give it your best guess. And what can really win over those
investors is personality, as demonstrated by Levi Roots and his Reggae Reggae Sauce. Levi could not have messed up his
pitch better on that BBC2 television programme that I
cannot bring myself to mention. He got litres mixed up gallons, he got
the decimal place wrong by two places, they piled in because he had the
passion. He obviously had no understanding of
math, but they did! They did, they understood and could see what he had. It’s all about your humanity. People understand, angels understand, it’s a really awkward thing to do. It’s just about being yourself, coming across as a fun person the kinda person they wanna hang out
with. That’s what it’s really all about. Whether you’ve a tangible product like our smoothie or a less tangible service, people need to know you’re ready to sell and open for business. Online you can trade all over the world
so you’ll need a website to help your idea reach its full potential. You can create a free website with Moonfruit, use one of our templates, start one from scratch, or we can build
it for you with KickStart. But a website’s pointless is no one knows it exists, so getting a coveted spot on a search engine is key. But first a taste test. So this is our smoothie that we’re taking around. You’ve got a sample there . If you’d like to give it a try and tell us how you’d help us take it to market. Okay, here goes. That’s very nice, it’s very good. It’s ummm…it’s certainly very thick, isn’t it? You can tell the fruits in there. Too many vegetables, I think, too much goodness. Yes you can definitely taste the goodness…and the raspberry pips. It’s important to bear in mind that
Google likes businesses that have been around for a long while. So you’re not going to start ranking on
Google straight away. But what you need to invest in content and create good content for your website, and very quickly Google will start sending you traffic. before I’d start doing anything though, I want to come up with a good plan for how you’d target Google. So what keywords, what are the terms people are searching for in your market. Identifying those and working out a plan to you can create enough content on your website, and attract enough links from
other sites and publicity for that content, and Google is going to start taking notice of you and saying Okay, we really like this, we’re going to send some traffic in this direction And there we are. Here’s a recap. Do your research. Make a business plan. Think about finance. Practise your pitch Build a website. And get seen by search
engines. So that’s the end of The Business Show hope you found it useful. Let us know what you think in the
comments, and keep an eye on our blog for more business advice.

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