Setting up a business can be very rewarding, but you need the steps on how to set up a business before you start or the process can appear daunting. Business First, the single point of contact at Malta Enterprise, provides a comprehensive guide on how to plan, and set-up a business, and also provides useful to on running and growing your activity.

Below is some advice and points to think about if you've got a great business idea but don't quite know where to start to get things off the ground…

Business or hobby?

Some key questions to consider:

  • Are you undertaking the activity for commercial reasons?
  • Is your main purpose to make a profit?
  • Do you regularly and repeatedly undertake your activity?
  • Is your activity planned, organised and carried out in a business-like manner?

If you answered yes to most of these questions, you're likely to be running a business.

Who is your market?

When selling a service or a product, the most important factor towards success is that it should be something that people want to buy. Without a market your business will fail, so do your research on how much people are interested in your product/service. Identify those people/groups who are likely to be interested in what you are offering.

Who are your competitors?

Is anyone else  selling similar things? What is different about your product/service that will make consumers want yours above your competitor’s. How will you persuade people to come to you instead of someone who is already established and proven?

How will you reach your market?

Your first customers are usually the easiest to reach if they are family and friends, but in order to sustain your business you need to be always thinking on how to reach new customers. The marketing platforms you use will depend on your target customers, for example, younger generations are more likely to browse online, whereas older generations may feel more comfortable with an advert in a magazine or on TV.  One off adverts will not leave an impact, therefore you need to plan frequency and intensity. Costs for different platforms vary substantially therefore do your research well and plan your finances ahead.

How will you run and manage your business?

Will you need premises or can you work from home? Do you need to invest in production to start with, and how much stock do you need to keep? How will you manage the flow of work if your business does better than you have a fall back if it does worse?

There are legal requirements if you're running a company and you need to set aside time to make sure they are done properly - bookkeeping and accounting, insurance and tax...if you are not comfortable with numbers, consider subcontracting the service to a professional accountant. Again plan the costs.

It is important to do a cash flow forecast, so work out how much you are spending to get the business set up. If you think you will need financial assistance to get the business off the ground, how much will you need? What are your potential funding sources?

Click here to access the full guide.