The right time to start your business? 4 steps to follow

You've come up with a great concept and you're excited about starting your own business. But it's not easy to take the plunge. Will you have enough guts and ambition to go for it? With this 4-step roadmap, you will be perfectly ready to overcome the obstacles.

1. Ask for (lots of) feedback

From your loved ones: family, friends...

After careful consideration, you are convinced that your idea will work, but it is always interesting to find out what others think. Describe your project in detail and ask your family, friends and acquaintances for their opinion. Their view as 'average' consumers will help to show up any flaws that could cause problems later on. This invaluable feedback will help you to adapt and make any improvements required to your project.  

In your explanation, detail the problems for which you are offering solutions, describe your passion as a start-up entrepreneur and tell your personal story.

From professionals or specialised organisations

Secondly, talk about your idea with people other than your friends and family. Put it to professionals or structures specialised in supporting entrepreneurs who are best placed to assess its true value. You can also take it to trade fairs or events in your sector of activity, which can be an opportunity to meet interesting people.

From your bank

Don't hesitate to discuss the project with your bank account advisor. He/she can advise you on your business model and help you put together a financing file if necessary.

Last but not least, ING can offer you its Business Idea Calculator a useful tool that enables you to assess the viability of your project.

2. Know your competitors and the market

As an entrepreneur, you want to offer your customers something different. But how can you highlight the uniqueness of your product or service? Take the time to do some groundwork. Who are your competitors? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Use this data to differentiate yourself, for example, by adapting your offer or creating a unique experience.  

3. Draw up a well thought-out business plan

Developing a sound business plan, combining strategy and objectives, is always a good approach. As a start-up entrepreneur, show determination, boldness and in-depth knowledge of the market.

The key words in business planning are adaptability, flexibility and creativity. The business plan is not a static, unchanging document. Be as flexible as possible and do not hesitate to adapt your project to take advantage of new opportunities and to counter any threats in your market, the economy as a whole.... This will prevent you from getting into trouble if the business does not start off as well as expected and will enable you to continue to prosper, grow and innovate.

4. Choose the right time

You have sought advice, adapted your idea to market expectations and developed a business plan. All you have to do now is launch the business... But are you sure this is the right time? Despite the many challenges, this may be a good time to move from idea to implementation. Remember the English saying "Never let a good crisis go to waste!" New societal challenges always go hand in hand with innovative entrepreneurial initiatives.  

Ready to take the plunge?