You want to start a business, but it’s such a minefield out there that you don’t know where to begin, so much conflicting information, it can be a task in itself working through it all.
Did you know nearly 5,000,000 people are registered as self-employed in the UK. These are the ones who have actually registered as well and not the hobbyists either. That’s a lot of people who have made the decision to step away from the relative safety of PAYE and go it alone at some point.
Sorry to sound doom & gloomy but not everyone will survive it either as it can be very tough, you go from having sales, marketing and admin departments in your PAYE job to suddenly doing everything yourself.
It can be a rude awakening for some, here are some of my own top tips that can help your business flourish.
Too many startup business owners overcook the egg, which in turns can lead to a product or service that people don’t want to buy. Start small and keep your focus narrow otherwise it could snowball and get out of control, or you’ll find yourself procrastinating over things that will hold you back.
You certainly don’t need all the bells and whistles that a FTSE100 company has to get started, ask yourself do you really need that subscription to widgets international?
A successful business idea is one that will fulfil promises to customers, exceed expectations and grows with you organically as the business takes off.
90 Day sprints
As great as a long term plan is for the sustainability of the business unless you are going to go for finance or investment then really look at what can be achieved in the 1st x 90 days, where do you want it to be by the end of 90 days and work backwards filling in the steps you need to get you to that point.
Getting into the habit of working in 90 day sprints gives you the flexibility to alter your offering and also tweak and test any new services or products you choose to add a later date.
Be the solution
Lots of people starting out in business always lead with a “buy my stuff” mindset, “what I’ve got is great, so if I tell everyone and post the same advert in multiple groups then I’ll get sales surely?”
Well reality can bite, and it can bite hard, all you hear is crickets, and you sit aggressively waiting for the phone to ring.
There is another way lead with the solution first, what problem do you fix?
It’s so much easier to get a tribe of regular customers when your business actually can fix a problem people are facing.
Ask for help
So many business owners have failed because they haven’t reached out for help, sometimes a little brainstorming with the right person can get your business on the right track, most coaches worth their salt offer a free introductory call and if they do happen to give you some advice on that call then implement it.
Know your numbers
Another make or break thing to remember is to know your numbers, not just from a tax or vat point of view as that is a given, but do an audit on your outgoings, what can you jettison, where can you make savings, credit cards and overdrafts only last for a short period of time and need paying back.
Have you got enough savings if the proverbial hits the fan or your best client goes elsewhere due to cost cutting? It happens, be prepared, any sacrifices you make when starting out will pay dividends in the long run.
Research your market, find out where there are gaps and tailor your offering to suit, sounds simple but to really stand out you need to offer an alternative, if you just launch and you are a carbon copy of something else then it can take a lot longer unless you already have a rack of clients.
Create a support network
Outside of your family it’s worth creating a bit of a support network of likeminded business owners who understand the frustrations, trials and tribulations you will be going through, all of my trusted contacts I’ve met through networking, they have walked where I am walking and are there for me.
Sometimes your family and even your close friends won’t get what you are trying to do, it’s generational thing perhaps, the last thing you want to hear is “so when are you going to get a proper job then?”
As important as making money or being a success at something is actually remembering to enjoy yourself, you’ll have some weeks where your feet don’t touch the ground, remember to still make some time for yourself, even if it’s just watching a movie or reading a book, nourishing yourself is as important as any bottom line.
If it seems too good to be true then it probably is
Not rocket science, sadly you will find some unscrupulous people out there ready to take your money and not deliver, this is the same for corporate business directories, they have targets to hit and will sell you the moon to hit them.
A valuable part of my own journey within the business owner world was to go networking, the room is usually full of people who like you have started out once and can help steer you on the right path, there are plenty to choose from, you need to find the right one for you and that can be trial and error, you’d always be welcome at one of the groups I head up for 4Networking in Lancaster, Kendal, Preston and beyond.
If it is your dream to do something for yourself then you should go for it, there is so much advice out there that it can be a little bit overwhelming, take each day a step a time, have a break when you need it and don’t forget to enjoy yourself.
Article by Michael Kearney – The Business Transformer