It’s finally time. You’ve endured your last day behind a desk, and you’ve decided that you’re going to realize your dreams. For too long now, you’ve taken orders from an employer who no longer represents your best interests and doesn’t align with where you want to take your career. It’s time to take your future into your own hands.
When you’re starting your own business, these feelings are probably pretty familiar, and the heady mixture of excitement, anticipation, and the thrill of getting to be your own boss can sustain you through a lot of the trickier parts. However, starting your own business isn’t easy, and there’s a lot you need to do in order to ensure it gets off the ground. Here’s how to start your own business from scratch.
Have A Killer Idea
Contrary to popular belief, having an original idea isn’t an essential part of starting a business. It helps, of course; if you can prove that your idea is innovative and fresh, then investors (more on which in a moment) and customers will line up to try out something they’ve never seen before. However, what’s more, important is that your business idea is good. If you can demonstrate that your business is needed within a certain niche, then it doesn’t really matter whether that business is innovative or not.
Raise Some Funds
Unfortunately, gathering funds is a necessity when it comes to starting a business. It’s not a particularly fun part of the process, but you have several avenues available to you. There are likely business loans available from your government, for instance, and you can also turn to private investors to give you some cash (possibly in exchange for some control over how the business is run). Personal finance is also an option; even £500 loans can be the difference between your business taking off and failing to launch, believe it or not.
Create A Business Plan
You can think of your business plan as a sort of cast-iron bible for your company (not to mix metaphors), although it will change over time. Your business plan should contain your mission statement, how you intend to achieve that goal, and your day-to-day operational plans. It should outline hiring policies, health and safety procedures, legal elements, and everything else that goes into making a business. If you’re struggling to put this document together, you’ll find plenty of guides online to help you.
Don’t Give Up Your Job Right Away
No matter how much you might hate your day job, it’s not a good idea to simply walk out as soon as plans to start your business are underway. Your day job is likely providing you with financial security that you can use as a jumping-off point; you can build capital and amass extra funds by diverting some of your income towards your business, and you can keep yourself afloat while you’re in the early stages. Unless your job has become completely untenable, it’s a good idea to keep working while you’re starting up your business.
Research The Competition
Knowing who you’re up against can help you immensely when it comes to setting up your business. If you don’t know your competition, it can be seriously difficult to establish a niche for yourself; you may keep falling into traps that your competition has already learned to successfully circumnavigate, or you may find yourself aiming for a demographic that your competition already has locked down. Make sure to conduct dispassionate and unbiased research about what your competition is doing and incorporate those lessons into your business plan.
Know Your Demographic
Every business has a core demographic towards which it aims all of its products and services. Very few businesses are capable of appealing to every single person in the world, and it’s best not to have that as an ambition at the outset of creating your business because you’re only going to be disappointed. Think carefully about what kind of product or service you’re offering and who would be interested in it. Don’t be afraid to conduct market research to find out what kind of person wants to avail themselves of your services.
Build A Brand
In today’s world, branding is everything. Your product could be the highest-quality version of what you’re selling in the world, but it won’t matter if your branding doesn’t speak to people. You should be creating a brand that builds loyalty and gets people talking. A strong name is a must; it doesn’t have to be a clever joke or pun, but it does have to be memorable and punchy, so try to keep it to as few syllables as possible. Graphics are also an essential element of branding, as the visual aesthetic of your business is what many people are likely to remember you for.
Secure Your Premises
If your business is going to need a physical dimension (if you’re an e-commerce outfit, for instance, this will be essential), it’s important to secure those premises early on. After all, if you don’t have a base of operations where you can store your products, then you’re going to find sending them to customers pretty difficult. Only you can know what your space requirements look like, but make sure that you’ve conducted thorough research on any property you buy or rent, as you may have to sign a lengthy contract.