Nava Strategy

Starting a Business 101

There isn’t a one size fits all, but there is a tried-and-true roadmap necessary for all businesses. Of course, not all businesses have a roadmap. The main considerations for aspiring social entrepreneurs embarking on the journey of starting a business can be daunting. There are many ways to start and many ways to grow. You might be looking at ethical supply chain management, human rights issues and employee impact, or looking to incorporate more DEI and social awareness in your organization – now is the time to make the shift to a more conscious and ethical model.

A roadmap is to ensure you are aware of the elements, parts, and risks involved in each portion of the business, this is not only to ensure success in the long run but also to mitigate any risks, including those related to legal obligations or protections.

This guide covers initial ideation to the essential elements of planning, execution, and growing – successfully.

A Roadmap to Success

  1. Idea and Planning

This emphasizes the importance of a solid idea and the need for thorough planning. Social entrepreneurs and non-profits are encouraged to conduct market research to validate their concepts and to identify potential gaps or opportunities in the market. This article stresses the significance of a well-thought-out plan that outlines the organizational model, target market, competitive analysis, and financial projections. A strong foundation, like a good pair of running shoes, goes a long way.

Tools: lean business canvas, books, podcasts, or learnings from other similar businesses, hiring a consultant for the initial validation process or MPV.

  1. Legal Structure and Registration

Carefully choose the legal structure of your business, whether it be a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation, co-operative or non-profit/charity (that will open a social enterprise later). Know the legal implications and tax considerations associated with each structure. Understand and complete the process of registering the business, obtaining necessary licenses, and complying with local regulations.

Tools: governmental websites, business, non-profit or IP lawyer

  1. Financing and Funding

Securing financing is a crucial aspect of starting a business. What are the various funding options, including self-funding, loans, investors, and crowdfunding? Connect with us to gain insights into the importance of creating a detailed financial plan, including start-up costs, operating expenses, and revenue projections. Entrepreneurs are encouraged to explore multiple funding sources and consider the financial implications of their decisions.

Tools: governmental websites, loans, and grants available in your area or specific to your industry

  1. Building a Brand

Strong branding is a necessity in today’s saturated markets – the significance of building a strong brand identity to differentiate your personal or business idea in the market can determine the type of success you aim for. This includes creating a compelling brand message, designing a memorable logo, and establishing an online presence through a professional website and social media platforms. There are best practices to differentiate yourself, stand out, and build a trusted and reputable brand in your industry for the long term.

Tools: graphic designer or software, marketing expert, A/B testing of brand, social media platforms, content management system (CMS), analytic tools

  1. Marketing and Sales Strategies

Effective marketing and sales strategies are essential for attracting customers and driving revenue. Once you know your brand strategy and your customer or client persona – you have to determine (through research) the various marketing channels, both digital and traditional, and we at Nava Strategy emphasize the importance of a well-defined target audience. We help to develop a marketing plan that aligns with your goals and budget.

Tools: Email Marketing Software, content management system (CMS), Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tools, Client / Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems; Automation Software

  1. Technology and Tools

In the digital age, leveraging technology is critical for success. Whether you’re a social entrepreneur, non-profit or creative, innovating through the effective use of technology is imperative. The importance of selecting the right technology tools to streamline operations, enhance communication, and improve efficiency are often overlooked or low priority until risks present themselves – let’s be proactive to save you time and money. It highlights the role of technology in marketing, customer relationship management, and financial management.

Tools: project management and collaboration systems, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), accounting and invoicing, survey, research and feedback collection, email marketing

  1. Hiring and Team Building

As your organization, brand or idea grows, building a capable and motivated team becomes essential. While it’s bootstrapping to outsource, in-source, or do all the work yourself – this ignores the need for expertise, efficiency, and effectiveness that falls outside your domain. The work could get done more effectively and quicker by those with functional expertise to make it happen. What are your needs regarding the hiring process, including writing job descriptions, conducting interviews, and creating a positive workplace culture? Entrepreneurs and non-profits are advised to invest in their team’s development and well-being.

Tools: networking tools, job search websites; platforms for start-ups; trusted capacity-building consultants or facilitators

  1. Risk Management and Compliance

We are reminded of the importance of risk management and compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. This includes obtaining insurance, protecting intellectual property (IP), and implementing safety protocols. We emphasize the need for ongoing assessment and adaptation to mitigate potential risks.

Tools: consultant, business or IP lawyers

  1. Scaling and Growth

Scaling your organization, idea, product, or services for sustained growth might be the future vision you want to roll out now. What are the steps? How can you create a strong foundation for a successful execution? Is it the right time to pursue an idea? At Nava, we conduct scenario analysis to determine the recommendation surrounding your scaling concern. Entrepreneurs are encouraged to regularly evaluate their business performance, explore new opportunities, and adapt their strategies to evolving market dynamics.

Tools: Donor Management Systems; impact measurement and reporting tools, volunteer management platforms, project management tools, capacity building resources.

Build a Successful Team

Could you do all this work yourself, given the time you have to do so? Outsourcing where possible can make this process more effective and efficient in the long-term. Hiring a consultant can help alleviate some of the time required, and skills gaps to move your vision from idea to greater impact.

Experts help to provide a comprehensive and informative roadmap for social entrepreneurs, non-profits, and creatives in navigating the complexities of growing a vision, business, product, or service. They can serve as a guide, mentor, or catalyst to support a strong foundation and ensure clarity when implementing the rights resources, in the right direction at the right time.

By addressing key areas such as ideation, planning, financing, branding, technology, team building, and risk management, this checklist equips you with introductory and valuable insights and practical advice for building a successful and sustainable enterprise or roadmap.

If you wish to Inspire, Innovate, Impact, contact us today!

Our Commitment

Nava Strategy is your trusted partner in helping to bridge the gap between vision and impact. We provide tailored consulting to non-profits, social enterprises and creatives, guiding them towards sustainable growth and meaningful outcomes.

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