Are you starting a business for the first time and worried about failing? Or are you already in business, but finding it difficult? Then you may need to consider these points.
Having been in business for over 25 years, I have experienced many “highs” and “lows” and learned some valuable lessons, positive and negative, along the way. But I have no regrets, because having my own business and doing what I love is what makes me want to jump out of bed in the morning. Here are my top ten tips on starting a business, based on the lessons I’ve learned on my journey,
Tip 1. What is your passion and motivation? It will take a lot of energy to run a business so you need to enjoy what you’re doing. What risks are you willing to take in your search for success? Are you sure it’s worth your time and effort? If the answer is no then don’t even try.
Tip 2. It could take some time before you start generating income, so you may need an alternative income stream to cover any overheads.
Tip 3. Everyone needs a support system in business, don’t try and do it alone. You need to accept that you will make mistakes and that obstacles may pop up along the way. Use a friend or family member to bounce ideas off, someone who will listen sympathetically and not be judgmental. Find a mentor who has come from the same sort of industry. You can learn invaluable lessons from someone who has already been through the process.
Tip 4. Create a business plan. Choosing the right business name is important and having a guide helps to keep you focused and will provide all the information you need to understand how everything operates. It also helps you remain focused on your financial goals, and marketing strategies. One of the reasons for doing a plan first, is that it can help you avoid wasting energy and money on a project that will not be a success.
Tip 5. Expand your social and business contacts by networking with your clients immediately. Without them you don’t have a business. Create profiles on social platforms such as Linkedin and Facebook. Connect or meet contacts and form relationships, this can help provide future leads for your business. Networking is a great way to grow your business
Tip 6. You will need to do plenty of research when starting a new business. If you’re not already, you will need to become an expert on your industry, products, and services. Joining related professional associations is a great idea, you will learn from others about their turning points, successful decisions and the things that held them back. Most importantly you will be learning from the mistakes of others.
Tip 7. Seek professional help for tasks you are not qualified to do. It will save a lot of time and money. For example, if maths isn’t one of your strengths, hire a bookkeeper or accountant. If you need to write up a contract or terms and conditions and you’re not a solicitor, hire one.
Tip 8. Company image is important. So ensure you have high quality business cards, a business phone, and email address. Most importantly, conduct yourself in a professional manner. Treat everyone as if they are your next client.
Tip 9. On the legal side, learn what your responsibilities are before you start your business. You may have to arrange the necessary licenses and insurance. Setting up the legal side of things was one of my pet hates, but I knew it was much more difficult and expensive to fix later. Most accountants will provide a free consultation initially, they will let you know if your business needs to be registered, or has to pay VAT. The Inland Revenue website is a great source of information too. You can view this on www.inlandrevenue.gov.uk
Tip 10. Passion and Knowledge are two key ingredients in running a successful business. Passion helps you move forward and keeps the fire in our belly while knowledge points you in the right direction and helps you grow. Remember you are a leader, and it’s your responsibility to plan and grow your business.