Starting your own business can be tough. With so much to plan and prepare and many big decisions to make – it’s easy to lose sight of why you wanted to set up on your own in the first place!
But, recent research undertaken by NOW: Pensions, shows that 48% of all small business owners give in to their dreams of being a business owner because they want to become their own boss, whilst two thirds cited that flexible working hours are their main motivator and just under half want a better work/life balance.
To help you along, here are our top 5 tips to help get your business get off to a flying start:
Have a plan of action
Research your market – spend some time creating a clear business plan – identifying your target audience and analysing your competitors, this will ensure you are off to a strong start when raising finance for your business.
Attend business start-up meetings, seminars and conferences that could offer free, invaluable advice from people who’ve been there, done that and bought the t-shirt! It’s also a great way to start building a network of useful contacts.
Don’t forget to thoroughly research your potential customer base. Talking to them and finding out their needs and wants will set you in good stead to tailor your product or service. If you’ve already created a business model or prototype of your offering, then give your customers the chance to test and feedback their experience of what it was like to use it – asking them to offer you as honest feedback as possible!
Keep your finance options open
Bank loans, crowd funding, peer to peer lending, grants…there is more than one way to fund your dream…
Depending on the nature of your business and the amount of capital you need upfront, think about what funding structure would be best for you and if you’re not sure, get some expert advice.
The Government also offer a plethora of opportunities to access funding including grants and also tax relief/credits for research and development (R&D) projects. If you are in the process of developing your idea or progressing your business project – this could be helpful to you.
Register your business
What’s in a name? Well quite a lot actually…because choosing a company name is an important first step to enable you to register your business with Companies House. Registration costs £12.00 and usually takes 24 hours from application. It’s also a good idea to have the registered address to hand – for example this could be your home address – and also the names and addresses of all the directors and shareholders that may be associated with your business.
Stand out from the crowd to attract the most talented staff
Competition for top talent is tough, so make your business stand out. Businesses often talk about their people being their greatest asset and there’s more than a hint of truth in this. Even if a company is small, it must invest in its workforce, so never skimp on employee training. Grow your own talent, hire youngsters and graduates, then develop their skills for the longer-term. And don’t forget the thorny issues of pay and benefits. If you genuinely value your staff – seen through rewards or simple fair treatment – they will be more loyal, productive and provide a better product or service for customers. And such good practice will enhance your reputation making top tier recruits eager to work for you, regardless of your size.
And finally…it’s extremely important that you set aside some time to build an online presence for your business such as your own domain or website, multiple social media accounts, Google monitoring and SEO measuring too. Here’s a really valuable quick fix to ensure you’re ‘Googalable’ which you can do yourself in under 30 minutes: Win at Google infographic.