Many people are eager to take the plunge and start working for themselves, and for many the idea of setting up a start-up business is a very tempting one. However, setting up a start-up business can be a real challenge and can be quite daunting, especially if you think the difficult financial climate and the fact that there are a lot big players that operate in pretty much every niche I can think of.
The good news is that there are ways in which you can make the whole process easier, more manageable, and far less stressful. There are always some small and simple things that you can do to help you to get off on the right foot and watch your start up business grow and flourish.
- The nature of your business: If you are keen to get involved in setting up a start-up company but you are not sure what sort of company you want to set up, take time to consider what will work best for you. Think about factors such as gaps in the market, possible competitors, whether you can run the business online as well as offline, your own knowledge and skills, and what sorts of costs might be involved. These will all play a big part in the viability and likely success of your start up.
- Create a business plan: This is something that you should do both to clarify your goals and aims to yourself and to those who you may be approaching for help, such as your bank manager! It is important to create a good, solid and comprehensive business plan outlining your plans and your goals. A business plan should be based on solid and thoroughly thought assumptions, different scenarios and possible outcomes for all possible scenarios. Don’t get too excited too early especially if you think that around 70% of the start-ups are doomed to fail.
- Think about your identity and brand: Even as a small start-up business, having a business identity and brand can be invaluable. You will need to think up a name for your business but you can also look at things such as logos, taglines and slogans, and other things that will help your business to stand out and be easily identified. Creating an identifiable and easy to remember brand is as valuable as your products.
- Think about your online presence: The internet is vital for businesses these days, and with the popularity of the worldwide web, an online presence is crucial even for smaller businesses. Think about getting a website set up, even if it is a basic one to start with. You should ensure that you get your site populated with useful content, make it look professional, and make people want to stay on your site and make a purchase.
- Consider your financing options: Most start-up businesses will need at least a small injection of cash to get started. Unless you have plenty of savings stashed away that you plan to use, you need to consider your business finance options. Make sure you think of a few options rather than just focusing on one, as this way you have other options available if one doesn’t work out.
- Do your market research: It is important that you do your market research no matter what sort of product or service you are selling. You need to look at demand for your services and products as well as looking at competition, as this way you will know what you are up against.
- Promote: As a start-up business, you won’t have the big marketing budgets that large, established businesses have, but you can still get the word out there about your business. Make use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook, join relevant forums and contribute, put blog posts on your site, and even resort to old fashioned leafleting to get the word out in your local area. You can also consider advertising on other more established websites, where you can look at options such as pay per click.
- Be committed: While you may think that running your own business means that you can be your own boss, it will actually be your business that is the boss of you to start with! In order to make your business work, you need to be prepared to commit a lot of time and effort, which could mean your social life takes a back seat for a while. But it will all be worth it in the end!
- Get an accountant: Unless you have a good head for figures and are very confident about doing your own books and accounts, it may be worth considering an accountant for at least the first year of your start up. You will have enough to be getting on with without having to stress about taxes and financial details. Look for an accountant with experience when it comes to working with start ups.
- Be prepared to invest: It can be a great feeling when you finally start to see a little money coming in from your own business. However, you need to refrain from getting online and booking the first flight out to the Caribbean to celebrate! To begin with, focus on re-investing in your start up, using the money you make to help your business to grow. You can start to enjoy the high life later on down the line, when your start up becomes a huge success!