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The Entrepreneur’s Checklist: 10 Things to Know Before Launching a Start-up

For many business-minded individuals in the UAE, starting your own company is the ultimate dream. Turning your vision into a reality while building your name and wealth is an opportunity like no other. That’s why business license applications are always booming across the country. Many people want to get their shot at self-made success.

Of course, there are a lot of things to consider and undergo before you attain that business goal. The entrepreneurial journey is paved with both triumphs and low points, so be prepared even before you take that first step. Here are ten things you need to know and do prior to launching a startup.

  • Have a clear plan and vision

Every great venture starts with a plan, and it’s rare to find success without one. Make sure you have a strong business idea that fulfils a need in your chosen industry, as this will serve as your guiding light throughout your entire endeavour. Supporting that idea must be a clear message and value proposition that takes your target market into account. From there, come up with a full business plan that includes your business model, cash flow forecasts, growth strategies, objectives, and more.

  • Decide on a business structure that works for your company

Beyond a great idea and a full business plan should be a company structure that lets you maximize operations, opportunities, and profits. In the UAE you can choose among several company types – such as the LLC, joint venture, shareholding company, or partnership. Jurisdiction is another consideration since the UAE has a lot of mainland and free zone areas available for business owners. Each one has its own pros and cons so analyze which location would be most beneficial. Third, consider which license is the most apt for your business. Different jurisdictions offer their own set of licenses, so consider this as another decision point during your early days.

  • Make sure you’re financially stable

Starting and operating a business can be expensive. Because of that, you’ll also need to get your personal finances in order before committing to one. Are you prepared to invest more than your initial estimations? Are you willing to reduce financial commitments to focus on the business? Once it gets up and running, will it become your sole financial source or will you have other income streams? Answering these questions will help you get a better sense of your overall financial status, as well as your level of comfort when it comes to potential risks.

  • Organize all your documents

The process of applying for a business license, obtaining visas, and overall setting up a business requires a lot of documentation. You’ll need the aforementioned business plan, a Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association, valid IDs, medical test results, and more. Although the specific requirements will depend on what business you’re looking to open as well as where you’d like to operate it, it’ll be best to have the standard legal and financial documents ready from the outset.

  • Get to know your customers & market

No business would be complete without customers. Analyze your target consumer base and get deep into their habits, preferences, day-to-day lives, concerns, and personalities. At the same time, watch what your competitors are doing and take a look at customer sentiment for their activities. Observe industry trends as well, from emerging technologies to leading market behaviors. Gaining a deep understanding of all of these will give you a competitive edge because you’ll be better equipped to address a market need with your business.

  • Know your strengths and weaknesses as an entrepreneur

Needless to say, you will play a significant role in bringing your new business toward the path of success. It’s important that you also understand where your strengths lie as a business leader, and use that to your advantage. Let’s say you have marketing expertise. You can use that to kickstart a strong branding campaign to introduce your business to your market. On the flip side, admit your points for improvement as well. If you need assistance with financials for example, don’t hesitate to work with experts who can provide their services.

  • Secure demand even before you begin

If you’re building a start-up, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Capture the interest of the public, as well as potential investments to give you a head start. You can do this by establishing sign-ups, pre-sales, partnerships, and the like. Similarly, you can speak to possible partners and investors early on. The point is to have concrete evidence of demand for your company, as it gives confidence for both consumers and business partners to be on board with your idea.

  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew

Going all-in for your business can be tempting, especially when there’s a lot of potential for growth, multiple partnerships, and exceptional profits. Having said that, don’t be too drawn into what’s possible that you forget about the reality of your situation and any unwanted scenarios that may come. Evaluate the time and resources that you’re truly willing to dedicate to your business and take it from there. It’s always better to start small but successful than to go big but be unable to keep up.

  • Be honest with yourself

Building a business takes a lot of hard work. There will be obstacles, problems, setbacks, and more. But of course there will also be triumphs, achievements, and goals reached. No matter where your entrepreneurial journey takes you, remember to always be honest with yourself. Take a step back when things aren’t going as well as you had planned, to evaluate and re-strategize what you should do next. In the same way, allow yourself space to celebrate when things are going well, and to plan on how to keep the positive momentum going. This constant awareness will help you fully comprehend the true condition of your venture.

  • Find a network of mentors & partners

Self-reflection, as mentioned above, is important, but so is seeking support. Try to find a mentor who has more experience in the field you want to enter. These professionals can offer you advice and support that you may not be able to find otherwise. In addition, develop relationships with other business owners within and outside your industry. It’ll be helpful to gain insights from people who are undergoing the same thing that you are – and who knows, you may even form partnerships out of it.

To sum everything up, there is a lot of preparation that goes into incorporating a new business. From getting yourself ready to finding external support, it takes a village to get things set up. That’s why it’s also ideal to work with business setup consultancies who can take care of the legwork while giving you strategic advice for your new journey. In Creative Zone that’s exactly what we’re good at, having helped over 50,000 clients since 2010.

Yours can be the next success story that we write. Contact us today for a free consultation and let’s have a chat!

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