Starting a business can be extremely exciting and rewarding. However, like all things in life which are worth doing there is often a lot of stress and uncertainty involved. When I started my business I discovered that I had to learn running, and I had to learn fast. It was frightening and exhilarating all at the same time. If you are considering throwing your eggs in one basket and taking the leap into stating your own business I have some tips you may find helpful on your journey.
- Carry out research before you start your business. Knowledge is power is the common term, and it’s true. You need to spend time researching your market, find out the scale and the current trends and make sure you build your business based on your findings. Pay a lot of attention getting to know your target audience as well as your main competitors as this will be useful for your business plan and all future marketing.
- Work out what you are able to bring to the market. This will be your unique selling point and can be used to persuade customers to use your services over what’s currently available. It’s also useful for your business plan, especially if you are going to be seeking grants or business loans.
- Use social media and other market research tools to start communicating directly with your ideal customers. You will need to have your customers onside from the word go and social media is the perfect tool to help you do this.
- Learn to delegate and consider outsourcing or taking on assistance as soon as you require it. It took me a long time to take on some additional help as I was concerned about being able to afford the services. However, with extra help I was able to take on more work and increase my productivity.
- If you are not confident with your accounting take on someone who can help you. Accounts must be kept accurately and you’ll need to have a good grasp on your figures. You can find outsourcing companies or hire someone in-house to assist you. You may also need help decided on what type of business you create; you could be a sole trader or a limited company. Many start-ups are looking for a non-executive director as a way of helping the business establish quickly. If you are unsure of what route is best for you seek professional advice.
- Find a mentor or a coach to help you get started. You can find mentors who are more than happy to support you with their knowledge and expertise completely free of charge. Mentors have been there and done that and they are more than happy to help you learn from their own experience. The information you gain can be priceless.
- Consider continuing working at your current job while you test the waters. This will help you to continue to bring in a wage while you try to establish a position for your business. If you go down this route expect to work very long hours and discuss the impact that this may have on family life. Spend this time setting up the website, building contacts and finding clients. If you discover there isn’t a market for your company at least you will still have a job while you come up with a new plan of action.
- Working for yourself might not be for you. The ideal of being self-employed may appeal to you, but it’s not until you try it that you’ll know if it suits. You can’t leave work in the office, you will work long hours and you’ll have a lot of responsibility put on your shoulders.
Remember it is important to work on the accounting side of any business. Seek excellent VAT advice and make sure you understand the ins and outs to avoid confusion and problems later down the line.