If you’ve thought about opening your own business, you might have begun to look for advice. There are so many tips for starting a new business out there that choosing which ones to follow can get overwhelming and confusing.
As an entrepreneur, I am not sure there is a perfect formula for starting a small business, the best business advice usually forces you to think in a new way. My grow your own business (GYOB) program really helpS you cover the basics.What I have done, is pulled together a list of tips for that you might not have heard. Just to get you thinking differently
Tips for starting a small business
Opening your own business is often a learn-as-you-earn process. But, the more smart decisions you make early on, the better chance your company has for success. If you have an entrepreneurial idea, try these ten tips.
1. Address the What If
Countless people dream of becoming entrepreneurs, but they never do. They’re burdened with excuses and fears of failing. From money to time to responsibilities, you can make a million cases for not starting a business.
Let’s face it, being your own boss is scary. Stepping away from a regular salary is a daunting move. In most cases, new business owners have a lot to lose with little insight into their chances of success. Worrying about the risks of business ownership is normal.
But, the What If thoughts only slow you down from reaching your goals. If you really want to start a business, you need to address the reasons you think you can’t start a business and get rid of them. Find a solution to the issue rather than let it hold you back. Flip the negative to a positive!
2. Listen and learn
Listen to what others have to say—friends, family, experts, even yourself. When it comes to things that have to do with your goals, be a sponge. As you learn, start to work out the idea in your head. Write things down. Keep notes from all the resources you come across to develop a detailed plan and an ideas board.
When you tell people about your idea, read their body language. Do they like the concept? Or, are they just being nice and really think you’re going in the wrong direction? Encourage them to be honest with you. The collective opinion you get from friends family and others could be a reflection of how consumers will react.
Don’t ignore the power of advice from experts and experienced business owners. These are the people who know first-hand what does and doesn’t work. So learn from their mistakes, it’s less painful than experiencing it first hand.
3. Be a solution
Rather than starting your idea with what to sell, think about what it will solve. It’s a lot easier to gain a solid customer base when your business is fixing a problem. Your business should solve a problem and fill a gap in a certain market or niche.
I set up PrimePersona to make coaching accessible to more people through a self guided process, drawing on all my experiences and knowledge as a leader and a coach. I still support on a one to one basis but I wanted to make coaching accessible to more People so they could realise the benefits without the costs. Most coaching currently is done on a one to one basis but the costs can mount up. So a fixed cost accessible program was always my dream.
For you, focus on why you are opening your own business. Understanding your motivations will help you create a brand and market your company. Know what problems your target customers face and how you can solve them.
4. Keep it simple
If you’re like many new business people, you have an amazing business idea and you’re ready to run with it. Be careful not to let your concept snowball into something too complicated though. You could end up with an expensive, elaborate end-product that nobody wants or needs.
As a new business owner, try to start small and focus on one thing initially. Test your idea. Create a simple, quality product offer. Cut unnecessary features that water down your offerings and cost you money. As a small business, you don’t need all the bells and whistles of a giant company. It will be easier to add to your business as it grows.
5. Count the costs watch the cashflow.
Once you start to develop your business idea, add up how much it will cost. You will need to factor in every business expense necessary to launch and operate. Different business models have different costs but I recommend creating 4 pots for the money you generate and create a budget for:
Your Profit pot – to help you invest in your future
Your tax pot – very important keeps you out of jail
Your salary pot – to cover all your personal costs and bills
Your business costs pot – to cover all the costs of running your business
It is always advisable to have at least 6 months of finance to cover all the above.
6. Imagine yourself with no money
I mean nothing. There is a high chance that this will happen if you don’t plan properly
Launching an unsuccessful business idea is a reality for many new businesses. Over half of new businesses fail within the first five years of opening. How would you handle having no incoming money?
It’s a good idea to come up with a “just in case the worst happens” plan. You might need to get a job quick smart, or temporarily live with your parents. You might have to go without comforts that you’re used to. So have a think about the worst case and how you’ll cope. Make sure everyone is in agreement too. I’m not sure my parents would be overjoyed if I moved home with the hubby 3 kids and Bella the dog in tow.
Look at your current sources of finance. What do you earn from your current job if you haven’t left it already? How long would your savings last if you quit? What unexpected things could mess up your plan (e.g., your car dies on you or your boiler breaks)? Prepare yourself for all the situations that could happen if the business idea doesn’t work out.
7. Earn while you learn
If you want to start a small business, don’t quit your day job straight away! Launching a successful startup is a process. Build your business in stages and gradually transition from employee to business owner. It will take some time to earn a steady income. Keep your nine-to-five and work on the idea as a side hustle, out of office hours, so you can earn during those tough, first stages. Once you have a healthy cashflow from your company, you can go all in and quit the day job.
8. Speak up about your business
One challenge many business owners face is that they don’t know how to ask for the business and sell. It can be uncomfortable to share your business with the world, especially when you’re new.
If you’re worried what people will think about you or your business, you need to get over it. If you can’t convince consumers to buy from you and support your company, it’s difficult to make money. If you really want business success, you can’t afford to be shy.
Be ready to speak confidently about your business, even if it makes you uncomfortable. As a new business owner, you will need to market and network constantly. From networking with clients to negotiating supplier payment terms, you must be able to communicate.
9. Know the legal stuff for starting a small business
Starting a business is exciting. Legal stuff less so. But, you need to understand the rules that come with opening a business. If you fail to follow the law, you could end up in trouble.
From forming a legal structure to sorting your accounts, your contracts and T&Cs there’s some key bits you need to think about . You also need to consider GDPR requirements
10. Balance passion with wisdom
One of the most important ingredients in a successful business idea is passion. Passion will consistently drive you to improve your process so your business grows.
That said, don’t let passion take over all your decisions. Passion will move you forward, but knowledge will point you in the right direction.
Conduct market research on your industry and talk to target customers to find out your business’s potential. Ask experts questions about launching a startup. Reach out to professionals that can help you with certain areas of business, such as financial advisors and lawyers.
As your business starts to come together, think of it like driving a car. Let your passion hit the gas pedal and your mind control the steering wheel. That way, you can be confident about the direction you’re headed and sustain the momentum you need to get there.
If you want to start your own business but don’t have the big idea or you feel unsure which direction to take. Why not join my free passion and purpose project workshop starting on 21st September?