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Northern Lights

Starting Your Business
'Pre-Start' Stage

The pre-start stage for most entrepreneurs can be fairly chaotic. Often people think about starting their business for a long time before they actually do it. During the pre-start phase you need to do your research and speak to other people who can help you develop your ideas and build a business model which is desirable, feasible and viable.

Developing Your Idea

Developing your business idea is the most important part of the pre-start process. It is what will define your industry, target audience, potential risks and any other subsequent factors of your business. Generating a viable business idea is mainly about spotting an opportunity within an industry. This can perhaps be finding the solution to a common problem, identifying gaps in a market or within a local community or thinking further ahead and identifying potentials problems for a future market and finding a credible solution. 

Take a look at our example case studies below.

Case Study 1: Tangle Teezer


Tangle Teezer was founded officially in 2007 by professional hair stylist Shaun Pulfrey. However, he generated his idea years before in 2003.


The Tangle Teezer is an innovative designed hairbrush that prevent breakage using short, thin, plastic teeth rather than its metal or unforgiving plastic counterparts. Shaun was in the process of

detangling a customers hair when he had his 'lightbulb moment' or 'idea generation'. He saw a common problem in his industry and that was breaking customers hair after the washing stage. Therefore he sought to create a product that was more forgiving on hair and would

detangle at a quicker pace and thus saving him time. 

It took Shaun 4 years of research and development to perfect the prototype of his product and create a small hairbrush with a unique shape that could comfortably fit into the palm of his customers hand.

He then showcased his product in a 2007 episode of Dragons Den, however was quickly told that his business was not viable nor did they think it would be profitable. Never the less, Shaun realised that rejection was part of his journey and continued on with his idea. Months later, after his appearance on Dragons Den, his website sold out of tangle tweezers and Shaun was contacted by Boots who asked to stock his product, followed by Regis and Tony and Guy. 

In 2010, after the success of his original Tangle Teezer, Shaun's business entered the growth faze where he used design and innovation, yet again, to create varying designs for his different customer groups. This included different shapes and brush types. 

Tangle Teezer is a primary example of finding a solution to a common problem and then developing that problem into a solution in the form of a product. It also showcases that rejection is unfortunately a part of the entrepreneurial journey but it is important to have faith in your business.

Business Planning

After coming up with an idea for a business it is important to then complete a business plan. This is simply a document that covers all aspects of your business that can be given to investors, banks, staff and other stakeholders to show how the various components of the business come together in order to achieve your goals. There are two main elements to a business plan: the words and the numbers and you can find templates to help you develop both of these below.

Further Resources

Download Basic Budget Planner

Download Business Model Canvas Template

Download Financial Spreadsheet Template

Download Business Plan Template

Testing The Market

Marketing can be said to be the process of planning and ex the conception, pricing, promotion and distribution of ideas, goods or services, in order to create exchanges which satisfy individual or organisational goals.

In this video, we look at how to test the market for your product prior to launching a business. You should be making use of your business model canvas at this stage.

Further Resources

Download Feasibility Template

Download Market Screening Test

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