Starting a business has never been easier; the Internet in particular and the march of technology means researching a market is within reach for start-ups (even at a global scale), and much of this can be achieved with relatively little money.
That said, it’s still vital to provide something – whether a product or service – that there actually is a market for and can be provided at a profit. Also, starting up a business is still hard work and not for the faint-hearted. Here are some vital aspects to consider when starting up, as told by Intuit Quickbooks.
Despite lower financial barriers to starting a business these days, you will still find yourself writing checks and paying money over in various ways, so be ruthlessly honest about calculating your costs. It’s probable that you’ll spend more than you think you will initially and this could occur before much – if any – income starts coming in.
Establish a demand for your business offering
Many businesses have foundered when trying to sell something to a market that doesn’t want it or doesn’t exist. Hopefully, you’ve spotted a need in the marketplace and have developed a product or service to meet it. The next step is to ensure you can actually turn a profit in doing so; beware of a market that simply can’t afford or isn’t prepared to pay what you require to make your business viable.
Along with this basic supply and demand, research the market or niche you’re going into carefully; what other opportunities may there be? Is it a market that might expand? What’s the competition like? What are its strengths and weaknesses?
Your support team
Many leading business people such as Sir Richard Branson and Elon Musk based their success on surrounding themselves with talented, expert people to do the things they can’t. While you probably aren’t in a position to hire costly experts as staff from day one, you can avail yourself of expert help in the form of accountants, legal people, web designers, digital marketing experts and others on an ‘as and when’ basis.
Don’t try to do everything yourself; an accountant is worth their weight in gold to help you set up your accounting system and help analyse your finances from time to time.
If you’re involved in trademarks or brand copyright then proper legal help is key, rather than risking doing it yourself and making mistakes.
Maybe other people with relevant skills can help? Become a part of your local business community; some networking can perhaps put you in touch with people who would be happy to act as a sounding board, help on certain projects and so forth.
Ensure your business structure is set up and appropriate for the type of business you’re going to operate.
The following list may help:
- Business structure (Limited company, sole trader, partnership etc.)
- Business name
- Register with the HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs)
- Patents, trademarks or copyrights (this is where you’ll likely need professional help such as from legal experts)
- Business bank account
If you hope to get funding you’ll need a business plan, even if you don’t require financing or at least not yet you should still have one. It acts as a blueprint and helps keep you on track as well as clarifying exactly what you do, how you’ll do it, and how revenue will be generated.
It may change over time but it’s important to have something concrete to work from.
In the early stages it’s best to focus on one or, at most, a few related products or services; trying to diversify too soon or cover the whole market or niche presents a risk of stretching yourself too thinly. Focus on providing the best product or service possible in your chosen market area and direct efforts accordingly.