“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.“
Should the idea of being your own boss, working the hours you decide to and delivering a product which you are passionate about excite and motivate you then starting your own business could be the right move for you.
Do you have an idea? Good. Pause there. Give your idea a chance to succeed with the aid of these essential start-up business steps.
Market research is a vital component when it comes to starting a new business. The idea may be perfect in your mind but is there a market for the product or service? Carrying out the correct research can allow you to gather information which can aid you in shaping your business plan thus guiding your company in the direction of success and profitability.
The web is full of resources and tools which can be used to investigate how prosperous your business idea could be. You could use customer surveys and questionnaires in order to directly receive consumer feedback from your potential target audience. Competitor analysis – Searching the web for possible competitors who are offering the same or a similar product/service as you. Where are they based? Is the business model/proposal prevalent within your location? Do you have a USP (unique selling proposition) that sets you apart from the competition?
A SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis could prove beneficial in order to get a broad and complete understanding of your business. What are your strengths? What kind of service can you offer that nobody else can? Are there any weaknesses in your idea? Are there any prospects for development and growth within your selected industry? This analysis will allow you to understand whether or not your start-up business will survive in today’s climate.
Once you have decided upon a proposition and have captured the all of the research that is required, the next step that you may need to take is exploring how you are going to finance and fund your new venture.
Online lending is very widespread and there are so many companies to choose from in today’s market. It is important to take your time and choose the correct route for your business capital requirements. Some cash advance companies such as Merchant Funding can perfectly tailor a funding solution to your needs.
Other funding solutions could comprise of applying for a credit card, a bank loan, using an existing overdraft, borrowing from friends/family members or supplying your business with capital from a redundancy package. Whatever the method, a primary cash injection is an important phase in the lifespan of your business.
“As a business owner I understand the importance of maintaining a healthy cash flow and having access to funds when needed. Merchant Funding is a great product as it provides businesses with immediate capital, and there are no limitations on how the money is spent.”
David Maisey, Managing Director of Merchant Funding
A brand is powerful and popular implement in today’s environment. In this age of viral videos and social networking sites, branding is not just used for businesses – bearing a personal brand for a personality is very prevalent.
A name or logo can define the business or the individual. Depending on the company name and logo, it can be very memorable to some and completely overlooked by another. The brand will represent your company so it is wise to take time before deciding upon the right style, design and above all – title.
What do you offer to your customer base? How can you incorporate this into the design and the company name? Once you have a name in mind, It might be sensible to explore the online channel to ensure that both the URL and social media accounts are vacant for the company title that you are contemplating. This will allow your brand to remain consistent and allow for a seamless journey for your customers when attaining an online presence.
Now that you have a brand and funding and financing has been established, it is crucial to construct a business plan/strategy. This plan could encompass everything from your key objectives, business structure as well as include products, services and pricing data. Having a robust trade plan will allow you to attain an accurate overview of your business campaigns over the coming year and ensure that your company remains organised. Be sure to keep a record of all trading activity as this will become a useful learning tool in regards to forecasting the strategy for the next year.
Advertising your business is fundamental in order to achieve a customer base and acquire funds. A strong marketing strategy to accompany your business plan which includes tactics, networking, POS or even activity on social media is a must.
Can you take your business online? How can you develop your business throughout the year? Carrying out research within your marketplace should never stop as it is vital to keep up-to-date. This information should all be captured within your business plan in order to support your company and help it to flourish.
Laws & Regulations
Now that you are self-employed it is essential that you have a concrete understanding of the laws and regulations that surround a small-medium sized business owner on a daily basis. Here are a few key sections of red tape that you must adhere to:
Should your business surpass £81,000 in revenue than you will be required to register for VAT. VAT is a tax which is charged by VAT-registered businesses on products, goods and services within the UK. Should a VAT registered company be charged VAT when it buys services or goods for the business then it can reclaim the VAT that it has incurred.
- Business insurance:
There are multiple types of business insurance so it can sometimes be difficult to comprehend which ones are compulsory and which are optional. Here examples of six types of insurance policies that you should have as a small business owner:
- General liability insurance
Even if home-based, every business is required to have liability insurance. Should your products, services or employees cause or are alleged to have caused property damage or bodily injury to a third party, this policy will provide both damages and defence.
- Property insurance
Should you have business personal property or if you own your building including all computers, equipment and tools then you should contemplate acquiring a policy that will safeguard you again fire, theft, vandalism etc.
- Business owner policy (BOP)
BOP is essentially a bundle package which includes the particular policies that the company requires. Usually this bundle service would cost less than it would be to purchase the coverages individually.
- Commercial auto insurance
This policy will insure all company vehicles which includes those that transport employees, equipment or products. If you do not have any company cars but your employees do drive their own vehicles during business hours then you should have non-owned auto liability insurance. A non-owned policy can usually be added to the BOP package.
- Workers compensation
Workers compensation offers insurance to employees who are injured whilst working. As a business owner is it imperative to have this insurance policy as it not only benefits the employee but also protects both you and your company from potential legal difficulties.
- Life insurance
A life insurance policy will ensure that upon your death, the insurer will pay a certain sum of money to a beneficiary thus allowing for peace of mind.
Should your business be operating with software and digital material then you need to make sure that you follow the Privacy and Electronic Communications Act. Verifying that licensing is fully to up to date and that you are not sending unsolicited marketing communications is crucial.
- Employment regulations:
If were debating taking on staff then understanding of employment law is significant. This will cover everything from National Minimum Wages to Health and Safety regulations.
- Intellectual property:
As a business own you must ensure that you not only safeguard your own concepts but that you’re not infringing upon others. This can be in relation to intellectual property such as designs, trademarks and copyrights.
Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)
The Federation of Small Businesses is the UK’s leading business organisation who were established to promote, protect and represent small and medium sized businesses. This non-profit making and non-party political group was formed in 1974 and currently has approximately 200,000 members across the UK.
As a new small business owner, it could be very beneficial to become a member of the FSB. This widely recognised organisation provides the business owner with:
- Tax Investigation Protection
- Legal Advice
- Health and Safety
- Vehicle Services
- And much more…
The FSB can supply you with a dedicated account manager who can offer impartial advice as well as special access to the FSB website which includes unlimited and free admission to all factsheets and supportive documentation.
Click here for more information on the Federation of Small Businesses.
“Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.“