Although these are strange times, many people are now looking at opening a business. For whatever reason you want to become self-employed, there are some things you really have to think about and there is an abundance of help out there for you.
Having worked with many small businesses, the first question I ask them is why? If you answer because I think it will do well, then you have a lot of work to do if you don’t already know why it will do well.
WHO NEEDS YOU AND WHY?
The first thing to ask yourself is who needs what you are proposing to do. Do some research both online and face to face. Many people still go out on the streets and do face to face research, or even door to door. Others use the internet to do research such as competition, suppliers, costs etc. This is not to put you off but to ensure you really know where you will be positioned once you launch the business.
Once you have done your research and happy that you still want to go ahead, think about how it will be legally structured, a sole trader, limited company, or partnership. Whatever it is you decide, you may need the help of an accountant and solicitor. Research these too, you want to make sure you are getting the best for you. Many will offer a free consultation and I suggest using it before you decide on who you will use. Feeling comfortable and at ease with those who will help you is essential as these will hopefully be long term relationships.
On the left, you can see what is required in Stage 1.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
By now your head may feel a bit overwhelmed with all your ideas, plans, costs, needs, wants, etc which you have, hopefully, put down in writing. It does not matter if it means hundreds of bits of paper, opening a business can be overwhelming but there is lots of help out there.
Now you need to create your Business Plan. Years ago, it meant 40 to 100 pages for some industries, and then some more. These days it can be a bit more condensed. It does not matter if it means hundreds of bits of paper, opening a business can be overwhelming but there is lots of help out there.
There are plenty of free templates to download online, check out a few, and then start filling it out. The good news is that local enterprise partnerships will help you at this stage and many offer free start-up courses, go on them, they really are worth it and they are ideal networking opportunities for you too which when opening a business is essential for you.
Once you have your Business Plan, you should know how much you will need to launch your business and keep it going for say up to 2 years. Some people may be able to self-fund this, others may need funding. Check it out thoroughly. Make sure you include a salary that meets your needs. It might be that you can fund the business as you go along which will cut down on borrowing or start-up costs. Some businesses can achieve success overnight however, the majority need time in order to build up reputation, trust, and relationships.
FINALLY, IT IS TIME TO LAUNCH
This is when you need to enlist the help of everyone who knows you to get the word out. As you collect customers, collect reviews. Learn from any mistakes and problems, never let them stop you from reaching your goal. You may have to employ people or other services, you may have to get stock in, there is a lot of things to do before you launch. Create a checklist of everything you have to do and tick them off as you do them, this gives you a great sense of achievement. Maybe the local Mayor can help with the launch and officially open it for you. Contact the local press too, radio and papers, and send them invites. You should spend at least 10% of your time marketing your business, so if you work 40 hours then spend 4 hours marketing it whether that is online, networking, leaflet delivery.
Good luck and if you need any help at all, please do contact me. I offer a free consultation to new businesses and sometimes that is all you need until you get going. So what’s in that for me, you may say, well, if you achieve the success you are hoping too, you may then come on one of my courses or employ me to do some of your marketing work.
“Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves.”