Things to Know Before Starting a Business
Don't Quit Your Job Right Away
It may seem like the ideal thing to do because you would like to devote all your time to this new business venture. However it's important to just think and be realistic you work a full-time job 9-5 and have weekends off. Prioritise! Your job is what is going to support you on building your brand to begin with. Spend the evenings and wake up an hour early to work on the business, do work on your commute to and from work. Then when you feel as if your business requires more attention and you are in a position where your finances are ok that's when you can take the leap of faith and don't be afraid to do it!
Choose a Business Structure
Have you made a decision on the type of business you plan to start and run? Are you going to be a sole trader, a private limited company, in a partnership or a social enterprise. Choosing your structure will determine all legal matters which you will face in the future. Be sure to gain a clear understanding into each structure before registering your business.
I really cannot stress how important market research is. First things first, let’s establish that market research will take a lot of time it is more than just having a few people fill out questionnaires. You must thoroughly conduct research to understand your customers, the market you are entering to ensure that the business you plan on running is viable.
Write a business plan, an effective one!
You may hear many people say “oh I haven’t written one, you don’t really need one”. This isn’t the type of advice that you need. You need a business plan for several reasons, if you require funding, keeping on top of your goals, reviewing your marketing efforts, operations, you can also educate people on what your business is. A good way to start a business plan is to do the ‘Business Model Canvas’.
Make sure you are searchable
In this day when majority of people use the web constantly it is important to ensure that your business has a digital footprint. Having a website builds trust, enables people to gather the necessary information required from your business and it also can create opportunities by pulling in new customers.
Branding is so essential it can essentially make or break a company. In this article when we are mentioning branding this is looking at your business’ name, logo, colour scheme, website theme, business cards, promotional material.
Understand your Start-Up Costs
When planning to start a business you have a rough idea of what you might spend your money on; however, it is incredibly important to have an in depth plan on what exactly is required to not only just start the business but also run it. Things to consider, insurance, rent, website hosting, graphic design services, travel, materials and more. We highly recommend that you find an accountant who assist you with the necessary advice.
Don't Expect to Know Everything
Do not allow this to prevent you from starting the business, just get on with it. Honestly you’ll learn on the job, yes you will make mistakes (everyone does) and with mistakes you learn from them. Whilst you are on the job ensure that you are constantly learning via books, short courses, events or webinars. Technology is constantly changing, industries are constantly changing and this will have an impact on your business.
Stick to Just One Idea When Starting
Being an entrepreneur is exciting because you have so many great ideas which you would like to work on. However, it is important that you focus on just one idea at a time, trying to be a jack of all trades doesn’t always work out. Start-ups require so much attention and whether it’s a product or service based business which you are running you must ensure that you can focus your time and money on one project at a time to ensure that you will see the benefits or if it has been successful.
Get a Mentor
Mentors are extremely key and invaluable. It’s also worth noting that you can have more than one mentor, for instance you may decide to go with two. It could be that one is a highly experienced fashion designer and the other is a business coach who has over 12+ years supporting new businesses. Mentors have been there and done that, they will provide you unbiased advice for free and, they have a huge pool of contacts and connections.
When starting a business, you will be wearing many hats without a doubt; however, it is incredibly important that you plan, prioritise and organise yourself. I’m sure you have great ideas! However without a plan trying to do everything is just setting yourself up for failure. A common mistake is starting one project and then losing concentration and beginning on something else, what tends to happen here is no projects get accomplished in the end. Invest in a diary and project management apps they are incredibly handy you can also have various apps for different functions, finance, reminders, communication, notes and more, one last thing do not be afraid to ask for help when needed.
Written by Frederica Boateng