July 17th, 2018

Business Beat: Starting up is hard to do, or is it?

By Medicine Hat News on September 20, 2017.

A lot of time, effort, money and hard work goes into starting up a business and some still fail. It is this knowledge and the process itself that sometimes gets in the way of the best ideas moving from concept to reality.

While some would say that, the traditional method of starting a business should in fact be hard, as this weeds out those not ‘tough’ enough to be successful in business, I would argue that just getting started is the key to success in business. Many experts are proponents of iterative business development, a process where you don’t wait until you have all the answers and full business plan, to get your venture underway.

Rather, you just start. The steps to getting a prosperous business off the ground remain the same, even under this flexible mode of business generation. A business plan is still required, along with heaps of work and time, however the process can be more creative, and lend itself to experimenting without being all in.

One easy way to get started this way, is the simple act of getting a handful of business cards printed and speaking to potential customers about the products and services you have planned. The critical feedback received, before all the details are set in a plan, can lead to changing quickly and validating ideas before having invested too much time and money.

Another great strategy for getting going is using a business model canvas. This form of creative business modelling features a hands-on approach (and many colourful sticky notes) to aid entrepreneurs in thinking imaginatively about business concepts, and serves to help identify customers and competitors, problems needing to be solved, products that fit and details of how to get the idea moving.

Finding an expert industry mentor to share thoughts and ideas with, helps set direction, and may clarify product and service viability, reducing time wasted on directions that may not yield financial results.

All of these simple and motivating activities support the development of a business plan, which is one of the most important documents that an entrepreneur will create and continually update. However, trying concepts before having all the answers, counts to move entrepreneurs forward and helps to support the development of a flexible, customer focused business plan.

Interested in moving your business idea forward? This fall we’ll be hosting Business Model Canvas workshops on campus, watch for dates on http://www.apexalberta.ca/events.

The MHC Entrepreneur Development Centre helps student and alumni bring their entrepreneurship dreams to life. We offer one-on-one coaching, training, mentorship and access to a diverse network of startup funding. To connect into our network email edc@mhc.ab.ca or call 403-502-8433.

Christie Dick is the entrepreneur advisor at Medicine Hat College.

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