So you’ve decided, or maybe you’re considering of starting up your own business, perhaps at a coworking space KL despite all the craziness that’s going around in the world, but aren’t exactly sure where to start? Fret not. We’ll guide you on the necessary steps to go through as you start up a business.
To increase the chances of your business surviving the first two years, you must identify the problem that you want to solve in the market.
The problem statement could be anything, as it is mostly based on your own experience. Sometimes, it could be problems you’ve personally experienced in the past, it could be the challenges your local community is facing, or it could even be problems faced by your colleagues or fellow industry players in the professional industry.
It could even be problems that other people have been experiencing, and maybe, with your intuition, you noticed a pattern.
Here’s how you could frame your problem statement when you’re just starting a business:
Every business must have a goal in mind. This gives you a clear direction on where to place your efforts as a start-up.
Find out what’s your business’s vision and mission. What strategies do you want to carry out to market your products?
Your strategy may change, e.g. changing your target market, sales channel, your product/service. But your mission and vision will rarely change, if at all.
Now that you’ve got your problem statement, you need to start building prototypes that resolve the most significant pain points experienced by your target market.
Prototypes do not need to be expensive or overly complicated. If it’s a physical good, you use 3D printing to manufacture 1 – 2 basic models. If it’s a mobile app, there are prototyping solutions available such as Proto.io which provides a free trial for you to play around with the features.
Even if you need to develop an actual software (mainly for corporate clients), don’t over complicate it by adding unnecessary features that do not solve your key problem statement first. Doing so only wastes time and money, and as a start-up, you will likely lack both of them.
Advances in manufacturing have allowed businesses to develop almost anything imaginable. The question for most businesses is not how to build; it is what to build.
Now that you have a problem statement, you need to validate the problem to determine whether it can be marketable.
What’s the best way to validate it? Most entrepreneurs have a lot of success by going out and talking to people.
Talk to them and tell them what you’re doing. Ask them questions if they’re facing the same problem as you do.
Show them your prototype and ask them for feedback. What do they like about this? What do they not like? What do you think could be improved?
If the feedback has shown to be positive: the people you spoke to liked your prototype, and it’s something that they would buy in the future, then continue to develop your product even further and start making real products to sell.
If the feedback hasn’t been great, you will have to go back to the first step and relook at your problem statements again.
This is the build-measure-learn feedback loop created by Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup.
If the feedback has been positive for your prototype, it’s now time to start building some minimum viable products (or MVPs). MVPs are prototypes at heart but are further along the line in the product development process. Basically, prototypes are foundations for what will become MVPs.
This time, you will need to build products that will solve your customer’s pain points. If it’s a physical good, sometimes 3D manufacturing may not be enough; you may resort to using more advanced manufacturing techniques such as CNC machining.
For applications, you will have to start typing on your keyboard and code your app into existence.
You’re building MVPs intending to sell them. This will cost more as it requires more skilled labour and time compared to basic prototypes.
Build prototypes first, not your MVPs to validate your problem statement.
Start-ups often fail within the first two years of their life. As an owner, you need to have sufficient capital to fund you for at least 6 – 12 months (build savings if you will not be earning any income as well). This should give you enough time to develop a minimum viable product and start making some sales to bring you some positive cash flow. Cash is the most critical asset for a start-up.
Create a budget to plan out your cash flows over the next 12-24 months. Use an Excel or Google Sheets spreadsheet for budgeting and keep an eye on your finances.
You’ve got your finances ready, your problem statements, prototypes, and possibly your MVPs, it’s now time to get official.
With any business, legal compliance is essential. You don’t want to waste precious time as a start-up dealing with legal technicalities and regulatory hurdles.
Thankfully, there are agents to handle these matters for you, and they’re called corporate secretaries. Every corporate secretary is a licensed agency that will handle your essential business affairs for you, such as company incorporation, finances bookkeeping, payroll, audit & taxation, shareholding structure, company constitution, and many more.
On the flip side, these services will often come with fees, and if you’re going to use a lot of their services, the costs will stack up pretty quickly.
For certain services like bookkeeping and payroll, there are tons of software available in the market that can directly link to your company bank account, allowing for automatic bookkeeping. It does need some manual input (such as inputting notes, salary figures, benefits, etc.), but you save a lot of money in the process.
No business is successful without a team.
Have a team with different skill sets to work around individual weaknesses. As a new business, it is common to only have small teams of 2 to 5. Most of the time, your team will be rotating between different roles and carrying out various activities. That is simply the nature of a start-up.
We understand the nature of starting a new business with limited cash. However, there is also the edge of having a professional business address and beautiful workspaces to provide potential buyers with the confidence you need from them.
Are you starting a new business and looking for a space that gives you a much-needed edge? Our Business Starter Kits are designed to provide you with flexibility and stability at the same time by combining our prepaid passes and virtual office KL services.
Contact us at [email protected] or +6016 483 1319 to book a tour.
With this plan, you can utilize any of our five coworking space KL of your choice and access to our spaces for work.