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For a successful business, you need a viable business idea, the skills to make it work and the funding. Discover whether your idea has what it takes.

Forming your business correctly is essential to ensure you are protected and you comply with the rules. Learn how to set up your business.

It is likely you will need funding to start your business unless you have your own money. Discover some of the main sources of start up funding.

Businesses and individuals must account for and pay various taxes. Understand your tax obligations and how to file, account and pay any taxes you owe.

Businesses are required to comply with a wide range of business laws. We introduce the main rules and regulations you must comply with.

Learn why business planning is an essential exercise if your business is to start and grow successfully, attract funding or target new markets.

Marketing matters. It drives sales and helps promote your brand and products. Discover how to market your business and reach your target customers.

Some businesses need a high street location whilst others can be run from home. Understand the key factors from cost to location, size to security.

Your employees can your biggest asset. They can also be your biggest challenge. We explain how to recruitment and manage staff successfully.

It is likely your business could not function without some form of IT. Learn how to specify, buy, maintain and secure your business IT.

Few businesses manage the leap from start up to high-growth business. Learn what it takes to scale up and take your business to the next level.

Getting started

So, you want help getting your business started?

You're in the right place.

If you haven't joined Launchpad yet and have an idea, the dedicated Just Have an Idea page has info on all the amazing benefits to joining the community.

If however, you've already created your company, the Already Formed a Company page can tell you how Launchpad can help you flourish.

If you've done this already and need practical advice on getting started, read on.

FIRST STEP

We recommend you get stuck in to our You Tube Top 10 playlist to get thinking about your journey, where you want to go and what steps you need to take to get there.

SECOND STEP

Check out this simple Google Docs Template to get your idea down on paper so you can tell us about it when you visit.

Don't forget to make your appointment.

THIRD STEP

You need to work out which business model is right for you and your product/service.

A business model is simpler than it sounds. It's really just a blueprint of what you're going to do, how you're going to do it and how you're going to make money.

To help get you started have a go at answering these simple questions:

  • Who is your customer?
  • What problem or challenge are you solving for them?
  • What is the value you're giving?
  • How are you going to find and keep your customers?
  • What makes you different?
  • How are you going to make money?
  • What are your costs?
  • What are your profit margins?

Don't forget, every business is different so your model depends on what you're offering and, what and how you're going to offer it. Your business model is unique to you and won't be like anyone else's.

If you haven't followed the business model canvas, either print a copy or use the online version now, it'll help put your thoughts in order. We find the best way to do this is to use post-it notes to add to each section of the canvas, that way you can move and change things easily.

FOURTH STEP

This is all about testing the assumptions you've made.

1. Problem:

What customer problem is worth solving? Write down your key assumptions/hypothesis as to how you can solve that problem.
Your canvas works as a kind of scorecard to track your assumptions and any changes you make at this stage.

2. Pain:

Get out and interview customers to understand what they really want. Is what you've assumed correct? What is their real pain problem and how do they currently solve that? If you find your assumptions were wrong, you need to pivot to incorporate this.

3. Solution:

Once you know the answer it's time to produce a minimum viable product, which is essentially your prototype product/service.
Then get out and test that solution. You may need to repeat this exercise to get it exactly right. Don't worry if you don't get it right first time.

4. Go-to-market strategy:

Time to learn to understand the customer buying process, how the market related to our product or service communicates, how the distribution infrastructure works and what the points of leverage are.
Again, you may need to pivot until you find out how and where your product/service is needed.

5. Build:

All these exercises allow us to develop and refine our business model so we can pivot where necessary and mould a business model that works. Once all the elements are right, you can begin to build your business model.

FINALLY

Don't forget Launchpad start-up support is there to help you, we have a dedicated building with specialist working spaces, a community of entrepreneurs just like you, access to the best business mentors in the area and the enthusiasm and dedication to help you grow and succeed.

Let's make success happen for you today.

Visit Student Futures to book your appointment.

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