Start up

Are you prepared for starting your own business?

You have an idea for a start-up but can you explain what you’re selling?

A start-up is more than an idea: it is a business and every business relies on selling something. Consequently, after defining your idea, you need to accurately and clearly define what you’re selling, irrespective of whether it’s a product or a service. Here are some questions that you should be able to answer:

  • What product or service will you offer? (Try to explain it in 20 words)
  • What are the features of that product or service?
  • What are the benefits for potential users of that product or service?
  • What will be additional services offered by that product or service?
  • What are you trying to achieve, in both personal and business terms? Try to explain this, in one      short paragraph.
  • How do you think you will meet your objectives? Think of yourself and your business as single      entity.
  • Carry out a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats),and list the following:
    • Your personal and business strengths (e.g. self-confidence, organisational skills, personal       commitment, the strengths of your products or services)
    • Your weaknesses (e.g. lack of business knowledge and experience, lack of premises, lack of       contacts)
    • Opportunities that will help your business (e.g. awards, exhibitions, contacts, successes)
    • Threats (e.g. competition, declining markets, interest rates, other external factors).
  • How does your SWOT analysis compare with your business idea statement (above) and with what you want to achieve?
  • How can you use strengths and opportunities to overcome weaknesses and threats?
  • If the weaknesses and threats outweigh your strengths and opportunities, then you need to do more research into how you could develop your business idea or change your products and services.
  • What specific areas are causing problems, and what actions do you need to take?
  • What training needs have you identified (e.g. business planning, book-keeping, presentation skills)?


The above checklist will help you to identify the business, professional and personal skills that you need to have or to develop. Having business confidence will fuel your self-motivation and improve your business success.


What next?

  • If you realise that you are not yet ready to start your own enterprise, look for employment of a kind that will develop your skills, knowledge, networks and experience.
  • If you feel confident about self-employment, you will now need to carry out further research and      training.
  • Or, if you feel that you have all the necessary skills, information and resources, you can start to      develop your ideas into a business plan.

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