If you’re planning to set up your own business, you might be excited about what the future holds. The prospect of being your own boss, doing what you’re passionate about and potentially making plenty of money is certainly alluring.
Of course, if you’re to succeed, you’ll need to be savvy and work hard. The rewards of entrepreneurship can indeed be immense, but there are plenty of pitfalls to avoid along the way.
A realistic idea
Firstly, you’ll need to come up with a realistic idea for a product or service. There is help on offer if you need it from organisations such as the National Enterprise Network in England, Business Gateway in Scotland, NI Business Info in Northern Ireland and Business Wales.
Do your research
Once you’re happy with your idea, it’s time to do some research. Speak to potential customers to see if there’s actually a demand for your product or service. If you can, make a basic prototype and test it among your target audience. Also, find out what people are willing to pay. This is crucial in determining whether or not you can make a return on your investment.
It’s also important to assess the offerings provided by existing companies within your intended market and to establish how you would be different and whether you could compete.
It’s impossible to get out of the starting blocks without some cash and you need to think about how you’ll get hold of the relevant resources. There are a number of sources of funding available, including government schemes and bank loans. To access money from a bank, you must give realistic cash flow forecasts and prove you’ll be able to pay back the loan with interest.
It’s also possible to raise funds by selling shares to friends and family. Another option is to approach so-called ‘business angels’, who invest in startups. Alternatively, you could apply for venture capital from firms that invest in enterprises they believe will grow or you could seek financial assistance via crowdfunding, where large numbers of people invest in business ideas.
The development stage
Once you’re equipped with the relevant funding and basic idea, it’s time to hone your offering. For example, you must deal with any problems found with your product or service and go back to your customers for further tests. Do this until you’re confident that you’ve got your offering spot on.
Finding suppliers, partners and premises
Regardless of whether you wish to set up as a sole trader, partnership or limited company, the chances are you’ll need to work with partners, suppliers and distributors. Finding suitable third-parties can prove invaluable on your quest for entrepreneurial success.
You must also decide what sort of business premises, if any, you require. Always remember to stay within your means. Splashing too much cash at this stage can prove disastrous.
Marketing is key
It doesn’t matter how good your products or services are if no one knows about them. This means that in order to start chalking up sales, you need promote your offerings. For example, it pays off to order business cards from firms such as Peanut Print. This is inexpensive and it helps to spread the word. It also makes you look more professional. In addition, you might benefit from creating and distributing leaflets and flyers.
Of course, you can’t ignore the power of the internet either. Social media marketing campaigns are a must for many companies now, and it helps if you have an attractive and informative website.
By following tips like these, you stand a better chance of realising your business ambitions.