Starting your own business is an exciting but overwhelming time for an entrepreneur, so we have put together some helpful information to guide prospective start-ups on the Isle of Man.
Evaluate your idea
It is important and worthwhile to still develop and test your idea by exploring it further. At this stage, you are asking yourself and others ‘Is this idea feasible?’.
Before investing in a new business, you need to test the potential of your idea. Think about these questions:
One of the best sources to test your business idea is your target market. Define your ideal customer to hone in on, then do a market analysis on a small group.
Here are some ways you can test your business idea with target customers:
Ask groups on social media: Your target market are at your fingertips. Find online groups that might be interested in your business. Find out their general impressions and if they think you should do anything differently.
Have a focus group: A focus group involves a small number of consumers who use your offerings and provide feedback. Focus groups, surveys and interviews show what consumers think before you go all in.
Testing your idea on a small group shows whether consumers care about your offerings. If the small market tests are successful, there’s a good possibility your idea will be a hit with a larger audience.
Writing a business plan
It’s good to have a written business plan. If you are seeking investment, government support, or business advice from any organisation, they will require a business plan, however it is also essential for you to map out the vision and action your business is going to take. It is vital for the success of the organisation.
You will already have made a start on the business plan by completing research in your evaluation stage. The majority of this content in the previous section will be useful for your business plan.
Business Plans can come in many shapes in sizes. One of the more modern styles of business plan is the Business Model Canvas. It is a visual chart with elements describing a businesses or product's value proposition, infrastructure, customers, and finances.
Here’s a 2 minute overview. The benefit of the Business Model Canvas is this it is quickly digestible by those reading it and it’s easy to keep it up to date. You may also need to prepare a full, extended business plan for business partners such as banks or if you require business support. This is a helpful contents list for you to consider.
You may also need to prepare a full, extended business plan for business partners such as banks or if you require business support. This is a helpful contents list for you to consider.
Mentorship and training
If you have finalised your business plan and the results from your idea evaluation are positive, you will now be looking into the formalities and practicalities of launching and running the business. Key actions you will need to undertake are detailed below.
This is a scheme run by the Department for Enterprise has been designed to give start-ups and early stage small businesses the necessary training, financial support and mentoring to get their business off the ground.
The first element of the course (Training) is fully funded to apply for and is an extensive business training course comprising approximately 16 hours with morning, weekend or twilight schedules to suit you. All training courses are split into 2 parts with both group and one-to-one tutorials, delivered by the University College Isle of Man. Training helps applicants consider their business idea, determine the eligibility and viability of the business and develop their business plan.
The scheme offers financial assistance of up to £6,000 (an enhanced rate of up to £15,000 for exporting businesses, child care providers and nurseries is also available) which can be in the form of a financial grant or a living allowance of up to £100 per week for a maximum of 60 weeks. Applicants can apply for a combination of both living allowance and grant. Further assistance up to £10,000 is also available to support job creation.
The business mentoring service goes hand in hand with the financial assistance. Applicants will be partnered with a business adviser, who will act as a business mentor throughout the initial business start-up phase; this is in the form of interim meetings over a period of 12 to 24 months, which can be tailored to the candidate’s needs and progress. In a recent satisfaction survey completed by attendees, business mentoring was seen as the most beneficial aspect of the scheme. Learn more about the scheme and meet the Micro Business Advisers here.
If you have finalised your business plan and the results from your idea evaluation are positive, you will now be looking into the formalities and practicalities of launching and running the business.