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Ten things you should do before starting up your start-up

Is your great idea good enough, and can it become profitable and deliver a return on any investments? Although there's no real way of finding out until you try, business website Inc.com offers some start-up preparation tips.

1) Scope out the industry. The article recommends seeking out industry veterans for advice. For research, information and contacts, use the Internet, your local library, industry associations and business schools.

2) Size-up the competition. Visit places where your potential competitors' products are offered and become a customer. Check out their websites and get yourself on their email lists. Understand what they are doing so you can do it even better.

3) Second-guess yourself. Be as sure as you can be that you can turn your idea into a viable business model. You need to plan thoroughly and have enough capital set aside.

4) Think about funding. Can you bootstrap your company? Are you going to need a small business loan? If you are looking to recruit investors, you'll also have to give up a percentage of your company.

5) Refine your idea. The article advises: "When you position your company you have to think outside of the box in terms of what makes you different from the competition."

6) Seek advice. Friends and mentors can be a useful sounding board for your business concept. They might be able to help with business strategy, or simply act as sympathetic confidantes.

7) Choose a name. You need one that will "embody both your values and your company’s distinguishing characteristics".

8) Get a grasp on marketing strategies. "In doing so," says the article, "you need to be clear on who your customers are, because you don’t have any time to waste on marketing to those who aren't."

9) Test run your idea. Try selling your product or service in the marketplace at weekends if you're still employed full time. If your business is already your job, test quickly, then verify and tweak your model.

10) Search for future talent. Although it sounds premature, the idea is that your business will grow, so be on the lookout for people who might fit into your business.

Source
10 Things to Do Before You Start Your Start-Up
Inc.com