You’ve just been struck with a genius business idea. You are convinced it is the next multi-million pound generating enterprise, there’s nothing quite like it in the market and you can’t wait to get started. Key question is: how do you go about it? Most people would think raising money would be the first step, right? Not quite.
First things first – write everything down! Describe your idea, why it is different, who is the market, what you will do, how it’s going to be launched, how you will make money. Create a mindmap to help you visualise and understand how it all fits together.
Next, do a lot of research – and no, you don’t have to pay for this – there’s a lot of free information available on the internet. Your first port of call should be social networks, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and blogs to find out what people are talking about, what they are looking for, and to bounce ideas around. Watch a video from Ze Frank in Ted.com for inspiration – he gets people from all over the world to do things for him for free! Without disclosing your unique idea, use forums and blogs to see if there is a need for your business model – people are always happy to give an opinion.
Get a basic business plan together. Search on Google on how to do this. When you feel you are ready to go then think about funding. Ask for help from friends and family to get started, and treat their investment like gold dust, bootstrap your company to use only what is absolutely necessary. After all, obtaining funding from angel investment companies is harder than you think. They will only do so after receiving proof of concept, and to top it all, only 3% of business angels in the UK invest into early stage start-ups. Even if you find a magnanimous angel it may still take three to six months to receive the money.
At this stage you may also want to get help from a mentor to take your business to next level (try www.horsesmouth.co.uk for free advice).
If your idea is for an online business then that’s where we, Ortegra, come in!
Ortegra builds internet businesses. We help entrepreneurs develop their online business idea into a revenue generating enterprise, working as partners every step of the way to ensure initial stability and on-going growth and success.
Unlike traditional business incubators, Ortegra becomes actively involved throughout the entire “idea-to-business” transformation process – we work with committed entrepreneurs to grow their idea into a full project overview and specification. After that we go on to design, build and implement the online business. We help with its strategy, business planning & marketing and supplement any shortage of skills along the way to get things moving. We can even help raise finance when a business is ready for further expansion.
Here at Ortegra, we are particularly proud of one of our clients, upad.co.uk. James Davis, its founder, approached us in 2008. James had a couple of properties for rent, and feeling frustrated of having to deal with real-estate agents, decided to create an online lettings agency portal where tenants could find properties to rent and communicate with the landlord via an online platform. He was quoted £50,000 to £70,000 to build this platform but not being able to afford it, he turned to investors – but they wanted proof of concept first. He came instead to Ortegra. Using our model of only charging one-third the regular price of building the online platform, we proceeded to work with James in developing his business. Within three weeks of its launch it became London’s largest lettings portal. In 2009 we continued to build up the system in further phases. Today upad has been nominated for the Startups Awards, been featured in the Guardian’s Tech Media Invest 100, and has raised £1m in investment.