Each year thousands of people choose to set up their own small business. Some do it because there is a gap in the market and they have the perfect idea to fill it. Others because they want to sack their boss and work for themselves.
If you have never run a business before, choosing to start up on your own can feel like a dangerous leap into the unknown. It is a big change and can take some time to adjust to, but if you have a valid idea and realistic perspective, starting your own business could be the best decision you have ever made.
Whilst enthusiasm, commitment and motivation are vital for successfully launching your new venture. Forward planning is also an absolute must. Without a good business plan you will struggle to make your first sale, let alone run a thriving business.
To help you get your idea off the ground, we have put together a list of fantastic tips.
Work out a budget and stick to it
Sit down and realistically work out what money you can afford to put into your new business. Consider how you will pay your bills and rent when first launching – do you need to put some money by for food and other essentials?
Whilst there are certain business costs that can’t be avoided, there are many ways that you can save money. If you find that your business budget is quite tight, you need to look into how you can budget effectively and what you can get for free. Although at first you may find the lack of a reliable income hard to deal with, remember that starting a business is about growing your business and getting to where you need to be.
Create a one-year business plan
It is important to think of your business plan as your key to success. A good business plan should be filled with everything you need to initially launch, run and grow your business.
As part of your preliminary business plan, ensure that you include your three month, six month and 12 month goals for your company. Although it may take some time to get the plan right, try not to be discouraged – the time that you invest in your business plan will pay off in the future.
If you don’t take the time to put together a proper business plan, there are many things that could go wrong. Such as running out of money, missing sales targets and providing bad customer service. You may not realise it, but a good business plan is vital for any businesses success.
Find a mentor
Although it can take some time to find the perfect mentor, it is an important part of your development as a business owner. The way to think about it that the most successful people in the world, from CEO’s to athletes, have had guidance and didn’t get to where they are now on their own.
Having someone to meet with on a regular basis is an excellent motivator, especially as they will want to know how your business is running. They act as excellent influences as they are always encouraging to do well and successfully grow your business. When you are choosing a mentor, look for someone who started off where you are and has got to where you want to be. These are the people who will be able to give you some of the most important advice of your life.
Look into the legal side of launching a business
In terms of the law there is a lot of ‘red tape’ surrounding starting up a business. Although there may seem to be numerous laws and regulations for business startups. As long as you are aware of the regulations, and take your responsibilities as a business owner seriously. You shouldn’t have any major problems.
The key things to be aware of as a business owner are the laws on insurance, health and safety in the workplace and environment regulations. If you are unsure of the law, it could be worth attending a workplace compliance and management course. Many companies run these day long courses at a low cost, such as Praxis42 Ltd.
Consider how you will advertise
In the first year of starting up, most businesses just don’t have the budget for advertising. However, there are many ways to get around this, the first being to use word of mouth advertising as much as possible. If you offer your customers a great service ensure you encourage them to tell their friends, family and co-workers about it. Talk to anyone and everyone about your business, the more people you tell the more potential customers you have. Networking events are also a great way to get the word out about your business, most town and cities hold regular networking events throughout the month. Do your research, choose the most suitable event and commit to attending each week.
Harness social media and use it as a free advertising tool. Create social media accounts for your business on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Build up you followers by creating a regular posting schedule, HootSuite is a great tool for this, and interacting with your followers as much as possible. To get yourself noticed create a small social media campaign, this should help you increase your followers and clients.
Consider whether you will outsource
As a small business being able to outsource certain tasks is an incredibly important option to have. By outsourcing you will free up more time to focus on your work, allowing you to build up your business more quickly.
If money is an issue, begin by outsourcing one or two tasks, this frees up some of your time but won’t cost too much. If you are not trained in accounting it is a good idea to outsource this, instead of muddling by and getting it wrong. Hiring an account won’t break the bank but will ensure that all your bills and receipts are kept in good order, as well as ensuring your tax is paid on time.