Many people think about starting businesses in the new year. With just about the first two months down you find yourself at risk of not starting at all if you don’t start soon. There’s never a wrong time to start a business but sooner would be better. To aid those who have an idea but are stuck on how to get it working we will discuss the most important in starting a business.


The first and most important step is to validate the business idea. Is there a market? How big is the market? Is the business idea viable? Does it solve a problem people are experiencing? Does the solution improve on the current method they’re using to solve the problem? Are people willing to pay for the proposed solution? Is the solution sustainable? These are a lot of questions but it is very important to have clear answers to all of them. Many young people, for example, try to build businesses based on the use of new technology because it’s a new technology failing to connect the attributes of the new technology with improving the experiences of the customer.


No solution is born perfect let alone complete. Many if not all businesses did not start as what they are today. This means that while you have a business idea don’t expect it to be the final expression of your solution. Iteration is the process of working on an idea as you go. Understanding that each stage will bring new considerations and hopefully improvements. You will need to iterate on your systems whether it’s your marketing, sales, delivery and of course your products. You cannot possibly know everything there is to know from the outside. As you research your business idea new information will come to light and it will impact your idea. This brings us to the next point.

System of processes

There are many definitions of business based on the various points of view. My favourite, from the perspective of the business owner, is “a business is a system of processes that deliver a product (good, service or both) to a customer for profit”. The system of processes is the part that I’d like us to focus on. Figuring out your business processes and how they work together to deliver the product is where the business plan comes in. Who can supply you? What are their terms? What laws govern your area of operation? How do you get the product to the customer? How do you find customers? It helps you layout your business idea into a business. Organising the different elements.


The minimum viable product is the simplest form of your product that is immediately deliverable to the market. This is where you will start. While you have the perfect product in mind the minimum viable product will get you into the market right now. The product is not meant to be your end goal but rather your starting point. Great examples are online businesses such as Amazon and for a Zimbabwean example look at the origins of Fresh in a Box. The businesses didn’t start perfect or with a full offering but they found an expression of their product that was viable to go to market with and get started. The sooner you start to interact with customers the sooner you start to experience the business and what it means to be in that particular business.

Find Customer number 1

You have validated your idea, iterated, worked out your system of processes and created a MVP, what’s next? The next step is the last step which is finding customer number one. Remember that’s what the business is all about, finding customers and serving them. Customer number one isn’t always your ideal customer or your best customer but they are the customer you will learn the most from. All the planning and preparation in the world cannot get you ready for what customers and the market have in store for you. You need to approach customer number one with a desire to learn from them. Why did they choose you? What would make them come back again? What would improve the product or experience for them? And what are you going to do with this information once you have it? Find customer number two and repeat.