Top 10 tips on starting up a business
If you’re thinking of starting up a business there’s no time like the present.
The advantages of being your own boss are plentiful and can prove to be the solution for those who are looking for a way to change careers, deliver on that killer idea they had on the bus one day, or simply wanting to do something different.
With a bit of research, planning and a focused approach, you can help to minimise the risks and uncertainties associated with start-ups and learn the lessons of the entrepreneurs who’ve gone before.
Here’s 10 invaluable tips on starting up a business
We come across all types of businesses as part of what we do. So we’ve decided to have a look at some of the things we’ve come across which we hope will help to bring out the entrepreneur in you and get your venture off to a sound start.
1. Have your idea in place
It’s often the case that you know you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur but are not sure of what exactly you want to venture into. A good way to come up with a viable business idea is to identify any gaps in a market that you have first hand experience of - perhaps from an old or existing job - and come up with a solution for a problem you know exists for the customers of that sector.
2. Grill your idea
Once you have finalised your business concept it will feel great but that is only half the battle. You also need to subject the idea to a thorough grilling, testing your assumptions over and over again. Don’t shy away from asking yourself a few tough questions and test your theory against as many possible situations as you can. Or run it through with some trusted friends to get their views. Study the market trends and analyse your target customers. Make sure that your business would actually meet a real customer need rather than one you only think exists.
3. Make a plan
Planning is critical to the success of any start up business. Many businesses fail because of poor planning rather than because of any lack of ability. So sit down and draft a business plan that sets out a strategy, estimates costs, identifies the hurdles you’re likely to face and assesses the competition. This will give you a clearer picture of what you need to focus on.
4. Identify your customers
Create a buyer profile of your prospective customers – this will help you better understand who to market to and how to build a credible brand.
5. Build a network
Get out there and meet as many like-minded people as you can so you get an opportunity to exchange notes, share thoughts and discuss common issues. Working on building a business can be a lonely job if you remain isolated from people who could otherwise provide you with some great ideas and ways to tackle challenges you may be facing. Rest assured you’ll not be the first one to be dealing with a specific problem!
6. Organise funding
First identify all the possible sources of funding for your start-up – a bank loan, savings, investments that may have matured, friends and family, angel investors etc. It is more than likely you will take a while to break even and may even remain in debt for the first few years but it’s important to remember that many successful ventures do so. And if you can try and resist the temptation of running up excessive credit card debt that will build up with a possible 20% or higher annual interest rate.
7. Set yourself goals
Clearly define your goals – short, medium and long term by writing them down and placing them where they are always visible. This will keep you in constant touch with your aims and help you easily evaluate your progress.
8. Don’t be afraid to outsource
There’s absolutely no harm in outsourcing business activities you are not familiar with rather than struggling to cope with the demands of your business and trying to do everything yourself. It may feel like money which could be better spent elsewhere but if managing them yourself is affecting your productivity in generating sales then any money saved will be wasted in any case.
9. Ignorance of the law is no excuse
Perhaps the most complicated part of any company formation is understanding and familarising yourself with all the relevant legal and tax rules and regulations. Mistakes made on this front can prove to be costly and more importantly sap your energy and time. Other who’ve started a business themselves can be a great source of information on how to deal with legal matters and there are many free government resources which can also help you get to grips with the rules and regulations which will affect your company.
10. Harness the power of technology
Used properly technology can be very powerful tool to help you get your business off the ground – excellent presentations, early virtual designs of your product or service can create an important and positive first impression with those interested in your business idea. Where relevant harness the power of social media and get to know how you can leverage it to get your brand out there and reaching your target customers.
So go on and make it happen. One determined step in the right direction can turn your long-term dream of starting your own business into a successful, vibrant reality. Good luck!
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