Starting a business can be both exciting and daunting. While the prospect of working for yourself is certainly appealing, getting a new venture off the ground can prove very challenging. Here are a few important things to consider when you’re making the leap from employee to employer.
Knowledge and passion
In order to start a successful business, the industry you choose has to be one you are familiar with. It’s worth spending time getting experience and training before going it alone, as it’ll give you the opportunity to get to know the markets, the competitors and more.
You’ll also need passion. Starting a business can be a slog, there are no two ways about it. So being enthusiastic and ready to go out and get business is important. So is the ability to bounce back when things don’t quite go to plan.
Knowing your audience and the specific challenges or demands they face is key to being able to sell your product or service. Look at reviews of similar products or services to find out where you can improve upon them to meet customer needs, or conduct surveys to discover how your offering can fill a gap in the market.
For some businesses, being in the right location can make all the difference to success. Consider issues such as the amount of traffic around the location – do you need footfall to make your idea work? You may also need to assess the proximity of suppliers or raw materials, the availability of labour and location security.
Competitor research and USP
So often, business owners can’t answer the question, ‘What is your unique selling point?’ Before embarking on your business venture, it’s important to thoroughly research your future competitors and the products and services they offer. You then need to determine how your business will be different from theirs. Are you targeting a more selective audience? Is your product more affordable than competitors’? Establishing your USP early on will help you formulate a marketing plan when you launch.
Often businesses have to close down due to lack of funding, so be conservative when calculating finances. Costs may include workshop and office space, labour, internet and phone line services, insurance and more. Bear in mind that it can take time to build up a big enough client base to pay all the bills, so think carefully about how to stay on top of cash flow management.
Being realistic about your personal strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of your product or service, will ensure that you get the right help where it’s needed. You may, for example, be great at idea generation, but not so good with finances, so make honest decisions about what you can do and what you need to outsource.
Although it may seem like a fruitless effort, creating a business plan can actually help to give you direction when you start out. Have a summary of what your business is about, a set of achievable goals, a financial plan and a rough pitch ready – even if you don’t consult it later on, it will help you get your thoughts in order, and you may need it if you’re seeking funding.
Start your business successfully
When embarking on a new business venture it is always good idea to seek advice from a financial advisor or expert tax advisor, as they can help you handle the financial challenges of setting up a business.