There is nothing quite like the freedom and pride of starting your own business. You get the chance to turn a dream you’ve had into reality and work every day on your vision. After all, if you’re not out there building your dream, you’re working to help someone else build theirs. While there are many benefits to starting your own company – you get the flexibility to choose your own hours, the money you earn is all for you, and you can scale up or run it in any way you like – running your own business is also a challenge. Once you have decided to create your own company, there are a lot of things you need to consider before it is made into a reality. Here are some top tips to get you on your way with starting your own business.
- Ensure it is a viable idea
Is your business plan something that you have thought about for a while? Or is it an off the cuff idea? It is important that you sit and think seriously about why you want to start the business and if it is viable. If it is something you have been thinking about for a while, it is likely to be something that is logical and could be a real money maker going forward. You want to ensure it is something that you are incredibly passionate about and will want to put in a lot of hard work and graft to achieve. Don’t get carried away with all the benefits that owning a business has, or with your genius idea, as if it isn’t a viable idea, it just won’t last. It could be a good idea to sit down with your friends and family and discuss your plans with them first. They will be able to tell you if they think it is a good idea or not. If they don’t like it at first, it is a good excuse to practice your pitching skills! You will always face differing opinions and criticism in business, so be prepared for this. You will also need to research if someone else is doing the idea already (or something similar) and ensure that you have a niche. There needs to be a reason that people will opt for your product or service over others on the market. Get this decided before you dive into the other steps involved with creating a business.
- Plan your overheads
Businesses are very costly – there is no doubt about it – and costs crop up all along the process. It is vital that you are prepared for this and have the cash flow to keep going. You want to avoid going into debt as this can affect you down the line and also eat into the money you make each month. Sit down and create a spreadsheet of all the costs that running a business involves. This will be anything from your electricity bill, phone, and internet costs to staffing, production, and website hosting. It is always a good idea to have a savings fund put aside incase some months you don’t earn as much as you might have hoped. Business earnings can fluctuate and you don’t want to be left unable to pay your bills at the end of a month.
- Know the legal requirements
There are many legal elements involved when it comes to owning a business, and it is best you are versed right from the off, rather than waiting for something to happen. Sometimes legal issues do arise, and it is important you check out tips for hiring a business litigation lawyer if these need to be rectified. You will need to ensure that you do not use the same name as someone else, take your own images, and do not copy other’s text to avoid copyright issues. Some of the other legal requirements for starting a business include registering your business, having adequate insurance, and ensuring you comply with data laws. You will need to check your future employee’s rights to work, do DBS checks if required, ensure you pay your employees the national minimum wage, and also report your earnings to HMRC. It can feel a bit of a minefield at first, but once you are versed in the legalities, it will be a lot easier. There is plenty of advice online and from specialist companies who can help you out with this side of your company if needed.
- Get your branding sorted
Branding is so important in a business. It is essentially the face of your company and is what potential clients and customers will use to gain an idea of what you do and your ethos. Your branding needs to be strong, memorable, and representative of the service you offer. It can be a good idea to get a professional to sort your branding for you, as this will stick with you for at least the first few years. With your branding, you will need to also sort your marketing, so this includes your social media channels, your newsletter, and your website. Again, there are many professionals out there who can assist you with this. You will want to ensure that your website is a reflection of who and what you stand for. If you are a very visual company such as a photography or videography business, you will want it to be media-centric to show off your offerings. If you are a very corporate company you will want it to be more of a serious, text-rich site that lists your services in detail. When deciding on your branding you will also want to decide on colors. The general rule of thumb is that you select three colors for your company – the main base color, accent color, and a neutral. Some decide to go for one or two colors of even four, but you don’t want it to be overwhelming.
- Find the right balance between passion and wisdom
If your business idea is something that you are highly passionate about, it can be very easy to get lost in this love for your company and cloud your decisions. While being passionate about it is great, this emotional investment can sometimes lead to you following your heart, not your head. It is important that you remember your business is business, and if people don’t agree with something you are doing or don’t like an aspect of your company, that you do not take it personally. Passion is needed in order to move your business forward, but knowledge is vital to steer you in the direction you need to go. It is also important that you don’t let your passion for your business completely overtake your life. A work-life balance is very important, and at the beginning stages of setting up your company, you can forget to take care of yourself. Many entrepreneurs spend the first few weeks and months with very little sleep and end up burning themselves out. This is not good for you or your business, and you can see it suffering as a direct result of not giving your body and brain the rest it deserves. Ensure that you get enough sleep and allow yourself regular breaks throughout the day. If things are getting too much, don’t be afraid to speak to a professional who can help you with aspects of your business.
- Don’t be afraid to speak out about your business
Your business can feel a very personal thing, and it can be daunting to promote something you have worked so hard on. It is normal to worry about failing or that others won’t like your idea, but you need to get past this. Speaking about your company is one of the best ways to get it promoted and seen by those that could be prospective clients or customers. There are many ways you can do this. Look out for any networking events that are taking place, which you could be part of – there are many digital networking events in the current climate – and consider other ways you can get the word out. Why not start a podcast? Or do Facebook live videos? Having a presence on social media and online is a very important element for your company, and the more you speak out, the more chances people have of discovering you. If it helps, you could write up what you are going to say ahead of time; this way, you know you won’t waffle and will get all the necessary information included.
These are just a few tips for starting your own business. Creating your own company is one of the scariest but most rewarding things you will ever do in your life. Remember that you will make mistakes and you will have to adapt, but it is all-important in the learning process and your company will be all the better for it. Don’t be afraid to ask for opinions or get professionals in to help you with aspects such as branding – you want your business to get the best head start possible.