Google “start-up essentials” and it throws up a plethora of links and solutions. We are distilling down to those that we think are essential for businesses, no matter what type, relevant to setting up in the Middle East.
Viability of a project
Seems like a no brainer but a project that might seem a good idea during a casual brainstorm needs to be substantiated a bit more before it begins to take shape as a business. Your startup needs to be something you can make a profit doing or delivering.
Ask yourself questions like would you buy it? Will customers pay enough so that you can cover costs and make a profit? Does it have the traction for growth not just product and service wise but geographically too? Run it past a few people (not just family and friends) to see if it has the potential for a business that can be sustained.
Do a bit of research to find out a bit more and dig a little deeper into the sector.
Create the business
Once you have done your research, create an outline of the business – how it will be structured and funded, what will be your growth strategies, the key teams you need, resources you might need to outsource like accounting or technology or marketing.
At this stage you might also want to explore what kind of license you might need for this business; if you want co-founders to help you kickstart, whether you want to bootstrap or get funded. This will also help you work out if you want a proper office (whatever the size) or a flexi-desk. There are so many options these days.
Consult with the experts like lawyers and investors to find out what your set up needs to be, what it entails and evaluate before you decide what is best for you. At the end of the day, its your business and your responsibility.
The money matters
Make sure your financials are quite clear for the business. From managing what your cost structure would be to what you should be selling to make a profit. Account for your expenses around each product or service. Consult finance and cost accountants to help you manage and price yourself correctly to ensure that you have a sustainable business. If, further down the road, you want to get additional funding, then your fundamentals are right.
Start generating revenue as soon as possible. At the early stages of a startup, there is never enough money so resist the temptation to wait until things are “perfect.”
Go to market strategy
You need to have a clear go-to-market strategy. How are you going to get your customers? What kind of digital presence your business needs? Having a digital presence is a given these days but how and in what platforms, depends on your business and your end customer.
Getting a website is a no-brainer. Company websites are a platform to share your story – giving visitors a general overview of the products and services, generating interest and leads for new business. If you are selling products (even services), it could also generate online sales, through an e-commerce gateway for direct purchase.
From your website, you can create content that you leverage the many resources that social media offers to communicate, inform, and reach out to customers. There are CRM systems that can help you get the most out of your website, your social media and other digital tools too.
Research and work out your best strategy for your business.
Technology is an enabler no matter what your business is. From outsourcing your accounts to online platforms to managing the content on your website, to monitoring and communicating with remote teams, the right technology set up can help you manage your business efficiently.
Whatever you do to set up your business, it will always be as good as the last customer you worked with. If you do not put your customer first, and be the best you can be, you will probably be dead in the water because your competitor is waiting in the wings.