Growing numbers of people are deciding to take control of their futures and set up their own business; so far in 2014 there have been an average of 10,000 new start-ups each week in Britain. Just because you decide to go it alone does not guarantee success and there are a number of points to consider before taking that big leap.
The Big Idea
First of all you will need to establish what your business will be supplying in the way of goods or services, and make sure that you are not jumping on the same band wagon as everyone else. Cupcakes were re-invented a few years ago and sales shot up, but this was something anyone could copy, even from a tiny domestic kitchen, and the market was soon swamped. One technique is to look for a common problem where people would pay a price to have the solution, then aim to supply that need.
A great website to find startup business inspiration is Startups. They offer all the help and information you need to start and grow your business.
Research the Market
See if you can identify potential customers and ask them what they would like you to supply; this could boost your enthusiasm, or persuade you to change your plans. Always go in with an open mind if you want to avoid losing money. Establish what you could charge, and what it costs for you to supply it, which will establish if your idea is financially viable.
There are lots of websites dedicated to market research and this can often be a great way to get fast, honest feedback in order to determine whether you are heading in the right direction. With a few simple questions, it might be the difference between being hugely successful or wasting lots of money!
SurveyMonkey is a great website trusted by lots of big brands all over the world. You can target your audience by gender, age, location and much much more so it really is a great tool to use.
Not every business needs a plan but there are definite advantages to getting something down in writing before you start. It helps to focus your efforts so that you do not waste time in areas that might be irrelevant. You can list what your unique selling points are, the customer base you are aiming at and how you intend to reach your market.
You are probably dreading the thought of writing your business plan. Where to start, what to write, how to do it. It’s not all bad though because there’s plenty of advice out there with endless templates and guidance on best practices. It might even be worth your while to find a mentor, someone you can trust to guide you along the way.
Most businesses require a level of investment to get them up and running and do not make a profit for some time after they are set up, and you will need living costs for yourself. Proper funding is crucial for a new business, and at the right cost because running out of credit is the biggest threat to a new start-up.
The good news is that there are lots of options available to help get great ideas off the ground. Some of these include Angel finance, Crowdfunding, business loans and grants.
Marketing your business is all about getting your offer out there in front of people who might be interested in your idea. Your enthusiasm can really drive your project forwards and with the help of a professional marketing agency you will be able to reach and engage with your target audience. Depending on your resources and skills you might also consider producing your marketing material in-house. If your product is relatively inexpensive you can give it away as prizes for local charity auctions or raffles, or offer to do talks for local interest groups to provide great content for PR purposes.
Marketing Donut provide great marketing resources for startup business.
The main resource your business will require is determination; it is your resilience that will make all the difference between success and failure. Very few people come equipped with all the right skills required when they first start out, but these come with time and experience. Meanwhile, you can find a lot of free help and advice if you just take the time to look.