Do you have a great business idea and what to develop it? Whether you are a busy mother of three or a fresh out of university entrepreneur, having the confidence to make the leap of faith and start your own business is one that not many take. Not matter what sector you are looking to compete in, a few tips and advice is always handy. Especially if this is your first start up business and you are stuck about where to begin.
Research Your Niche
It is important that you know your niche inside and out, there is no point trying to sell something that your customers don’t need – otherwise you’re business idea may be a big flop. By piloting your idea to them, you will be able to deal with any problems found with your product or service including; how are you going to produce, sell and promote it. Then all of this can be done before you’ve spent too much time and money. By finding a trustworthy local printer, (you can do this by searching on the internet for one in your area, i.e. printers Cambridge) and then perhaps going to visit them, they may be able to make you a deal to print off some of your flyers, headed paper and business cards etc. to see how the logo looks, this way you can see samples without buying in bulk!
Develop and Plan
You need to develop your idea based on your customers’ needs, found out from customer research including the above. It’s key that you keep testing your ideas until you are confident in that there is a customer market for your product/service and that you are meeting the needs of those who you will be purchasing it. It is important to keep a record of all of those who are helping you in your development process, as you must remember to thank them once the product is complete and ready to be sold on the market.
Setting up your Business
You must be clear in understanding the risks and benefits before setting up your company as a sole trader limited company or partnership. Please do your research before you commit to signing any contracts. Questions you should think about asking are; what is the amount of financial risk you’re taking on, how do you need to pay your tax? Who do you report to in HM Revenue and Customs, how much control will you have over how you run your business?
Bear in mind that you will need extra help or people with specific skills to run your business; you might decide to take on employees. It is important to research your legal responsibilities as an employer including paying tax and insurance before you even start about employing staff. Remember you will need to register as an employer with HMRC if you want to start employing people, this is even if you’re a sole trader! Whether you are starting off like me in my garden shed or you are in the financial position to go straight into an office, you need to keep in mind that you will need different skills for different roles and, if you decide to take on staff, you will need to be able to delegate responsibilities and manage your workers.
Sorting Out your Money
When you start a business there’ll usually be period when you’re investing not only time, energy and cash before you start making a turnover. It’s imperative to examine your market to make sure your customers will really pay for your product or service before you take out a big bank loan or invest your life savings. Once you feel positive that they will, you should investigate sources of funding to help with the costs of starting up your business – from fundraisers to investors and selling shares there is always a way to get your business off the ground, you just have to find the right approach for you.
If you require some initial funding to test and develop your business idea you might be able to get help from a government-backed support scheme. Just take a look at the government website for more information.
Get a Bank Loan
Another option for you in terms of finance, once you can show that there’s a marketplace for your idea, is getting a bank loan. You will need to be able to prove the following things in order to be considered:
- Provide the bank with realistic cash flow forecasts for the foreseeable future
- Prove you will be able to pay back the loan with interest within the set period of time that is offered
The bank might require you to supply security against your loan by using some of you own assets like your house or car, however this is just a formality and a precaution in case you don’t repay.
Before you start trading you ought to think cautiously about how much risk you’re willing to take on, whether you are setting up your own display company that sells exhibition stands and banners or you are going to offer an accounting service, whatever you choose you must have a strategic plan, realistic aims and funds as a back-up.