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Hit the ground running: Business Start-up 101

Hit the ground running: Business Start-up 101

Are you a budding business owner? Sentinel’s Prajit Arora shows you how best to test the waters in becoming an entrepreneur in the Middle East.

December 6, 2011 3:54 by

Although business is the main focus of the economy across the UAE, it is not always an easy place to set-up if you do not know the ins and outs of the city, and as well as the different alternatives you might have depending on the kind of business you want to start.
Setting up and managing your own business gives you the freedom to be your own boss and work from wherever you like. It also allows you to choose your work hours and practices. These are the perks! But starting a small business and making it a success requires hard work, focus and commitment. It is best to start out small to test the water. This will help give you a taste for being your own boss and assess whether your business idea looks like it will be a success.

Settling on the right key idea is essential. The proverbial light bulb must spark over your head before you can start anything! Your idea can be anything with the potential to make money. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a brand new invention or product. In fact, many successful small businesses have found a way to deliver an existing service or product more efficiently and economically or have customized an existing product or service to fit an opportunity.

Getting to know your market
When starting a business there are many things to think about, such the type of business, the competition and business viability. You will need to do some market research to find out if there is demand for the products or services you intend to supply.

As a starting point, market research involves finding answers to questions like: Is there a market for my product? Am I going to be able to get into this market or are there already too many other players? Who are my competitors? What do they do and what can I do better or differently? What does my target market think of my product or services? How much will they pay for it? What is the best way to promote my product or service?

Asking yourself these questions, and acting as an objective critic, are the best ways to kick-start the start-up process.

Laying the foundations
Once you have decided your business is a viable option, you need to develop a business plan. Your business plan will highlight everything you need to do to get started and will keep you focused and on track. Depending on what type of business you intend to start, your plan could include elements such as market analysis, a management plan and a financial plan.

The first question to ask then considering any new business venture is that of funding. Namely, this refers to how to pay the costs to start and run your business. Bank loans, credit cards, self financing are all viable options. And while you’re operational, you also need to consider how much salary you need to support yourself while starting your business.

This whole task can seem daunting to a lot of people starting out, especially those lacking a business background. The thing to keep in mind is that a great business plan doesn’t require hundreds of pages with thousands of charts.

It is important to consider key elements, such as your capital investment, partnership agreements and operating costs when putting this together. A financial forecast that includes targets and revenue and profit KPIs is also very helpful in approaching your business from a holistic and big-picture mindset.

Sentinel's Prajit Arora says entrepreneurs should hit the ground running but not before arming themselves with proper research information.

Other important aspects included are how much you can charge for your product or service, how much it will cost to produce or deliver, and the size of your potential market. The plan should also evaluate your competitors in addition to possible barriers to entry such as high fixed costs and government regulations that might need to be taken into account,

Piles of Paperwork
There are many things you need to do before you can begin selling your product or service and raking in the dirhams. You will need to register your business name, website domain and…(CONTINUED TO NEXT PAGE)

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