My top tips for starting a business
Taking the leap and making your business dream a reality is one of the most rewarding steps you can take. But there are risks when you start your own business.
Here are my tips to lessen the risk and increase the chances of your success.
- Do you have what it takes?
There’s no doubt that you need certain personality traits to start a company. It can be difficult, challenging and you’ll be in it for the long haul. Even if your idea seems brilliant, do you have it in you for all of the networking, calling, invoicing, striving and persistence that you need?
If you don’t think you can deal with the hardest parts of starting a business and making it a success, this may not be the path for you. Before you invest any resources, take the time to look at yourself and decide whether you have the adaptability, confidence and resilience that makes entrepreneurs a success.
- Put time into research and development
Your idea may be in vogue and it may seem simple to commercialise it. This isn’t always the case and rushing out of the starting box can cause problems later on.
Strategically develop your business concept and work out how to make it benefit your target demographic. How exactly are you going to make your idea a reality? Do people need your service or product, or do you need to convince them that they do? Does it work? Can you make a profit?
- Create a business plan
This may seem obvious, but many eager entrepreneurs skip the nitty gritty. Developing a business plan will keep you on track and guide you all the way through. Even if you’re a freelancer or ‘solopreneur’, you should still have a solid business plan.
You’ll also need it to present to investors. The business plan should always include your company summary, mission statement, executive summary, product or services, your target demographic, your financial projections and how much the operation will cost.
- Find investment
Every start-up needs funding. You may be using your own savings, loans, grants or venture capitalists. Your investor should be someone who shares your vision and someone you can work with.
They will have a say in your company and you have a duty to listen to investors’ suggestions, advice and ideas. You don’t have to implement it, but you should take it on board.
- Create a support system
Starting a business takes a lot of time, energy, commitment and resources. Make sure that your friends, family or loved ones are fully on board and understand what you are trying to achieve. The process will be challenging, both financially, emotionally and in terms of time management. It’s a lot easier if everyone understands this at the beginning of the process.
- Work out the best structure
You need to decide on which ownership type is best for your business. Should it be a partnership, a limited liability company, a sole tradership, a non-profit or a cooperative?
When you have this, move on to the name and brand. Before you settle on the name, always check which domains are available online. When you have decided on a name, register with Companies House and HMRC and make it official.
- Set up the logistics
Where are you going to work? If you’re not yet making any money, don’t worry about an office, just start from home. If you do decide to work from home, make sure that your home insurance covers you for any damage to business assets.
Consider whether a patent is necessary yet. If you are working with a unique idea, this is certainly an avenue you can follow but it’s time consuming and expensive. It’s best to wait until you have revenue before applying.
- Remain focused and flexible
Your idea is likely to change along the way. Being able to adapt to new ideas from other people, customer feedback and changes in your chosen industry is the difference between succeeding and failing.
Keep focused when others express doubt and believe in your idea. Adjust your service or product if you are rejected by investors or customers.
- Deliver promptly
Whatever you are promising with your business, make sure that you deliver it on time. Over deliver on your initial customers and do everything you can to give a good impression of you, your company and your product.
Take constructive feedback on board and keep refining your offering.
- Remain patient
Success doesn’t happen overnight – not for anyone. If you study any successful entrepreneur you will find that they have been trying, refining, changing and trying again for a long time.