Business Startup Advice

April 17, 2013

Before you begin: Is it right for you?

Running a business can be an extremely fulfilling experience, but it can also prove a significant challenge.

Many small businesses fail in the first essential stages, which is why it is essential to plan your venture carefully. You should start by including us in your initial planning. The more forethought you can give to the job of running your business, the more likely you are to succeed.

You’ll need to consider questions such as:

Are you suited to running your own business?

While being your own boss certainly has its advantages, it also brings extra responsibilities and pressures, hard work and probably long hours, especially in the early stages of the business. There might also be an element of personal financial risk. To be successful, you will need dedication and determination.

What are your key objectives?

You should define the main aims of your business proposition, including what you hope to achieve. This might include fulfilling a personal ambition, or providing a range of new services to a particular target market, as well as providing a financial return for your endeavours.

What are your expectations?

It can take time for new businesses to become established, and as a consequence many small businesses do not make significant profits in the first few years. Before you begin, make a realistic estimation of your expected profits, and the level of salary you expect to achieve.

How much finance will your business need?

What funds do you have to put into the business? Do you need help raising finance for initial investment and working capital?

We can help you to answer these questions and to clarify your business objectives.

If you are starting your own business, you probably have a great idea, a new way of looking at things, or a vision.

But have you thought about how you can exploit a niche, or differentiate yourself from the competition with a Unique Selling Point (USP)?

Many business owners underestimate the importance of researching their target market and learning about the potential competition. Yet undertaking market research in the early stages can minimise the chance of failure.

Know your competitors

Whatever your business, there is always competition. Before you start up, make sure you have studied all the potential competitors.

This means indirect as well as direct competition. Direct competition is usually obvious: a new plumbing business will be in competition with all of the other plumbers in the area.

You might need to think more laterally to identify the indirect competition. For example, a new flower shop on the high street should view the local chocolate shop as a potential competitor (since both are in the gifts market); while the Italian restaurant has competition from the local cinema.

Know the difference

Having thought laterally to identify them, continue thinking in the same vein to work out how to persuade potential customers to come to you.

For example, the Italian restaurant could consider a cheap early evening menu to capture theatre and cinema-goers without taking too much more of their hard-earned cash.

Showing that you have conducted research into your market will also help when you come to present your business plan to would-be financiers.

A vision based on real research has more chance of becoming realised.

For further Business Startup Advice please visit our start up section on our website.

Or view or startup section within our resources centre for more comprehensive information


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