If you are planning to start your own business this year but are at a loss at quite how to go about it, then, keep reading.
Start ups are exciting but they can be pretty daunting too. So, if you are still trying to find the courage to launch that business idea that’s been bubbling away in the forefront of your mind for far too long already, get set… go! Here are a few tricks that can really help you make it off the starting blocks.
- Define Your Values
Successful companies have at their core a philosophy that they live and breathe. Decide what you value most and build your brand around those things. People like a company with strong core values. It will define and differentiate your brand and help you when you have difficult decisions to make.
Think about the brands and business figures who most inspire you. What brand values do they hold and how has it helped to define them? This is a factor people rarely consider when starting up but thinking about why you want to be in business and what you have to bring to the world can not only get you motivated to actually make a go of things, but will keep you inspired when the tough days come.
- Conduct Market Research
If you are just starting out, you need to know for sure whether that killer business idea is indeed a killer idea, and not just a fast way to bankruptcy. Conducting market research is your answer to this conundrum. There are plenty of ways to conduct market research from visiting competitors and observing what they do well, what you could improve on, who their customers are and what they charge, to conducting surveys on social media and doing trial runs or offering free test samples to iron out what works and what doesn’t, and what it is that customers are looking for.
Really, your market research should be ongoing, for the life of your company. Your customers will tell you if you have a winning product, or if you have problems. They will also tell you where the problems lie and how they can be fixed.
- Don’t aim for perfection
When starting a business, it is important to be flexible and realistic. Whilst planning and research are crucially important for ensuring the smooth take off of your new business, it’s also important to realise that not everything will go exactly as planned.
Once you accept this point, it becomes much easier for you to deal with the inevitable bumps in the road that might otherwise derail you. Anything can happen, but it is how you react to it that will determine whether you or not your business succeeds.
Don’t sweat every mistake. Don’t take every rejection as a sign you shouldn’t be in the business. Take it in your stride and remember that it took James Dyson 5,127 attempts to get his revolutionary vacuum cleaner to the market.
As Steve Jobs said, “it is impossible to fail if you learn from your mistakes. Don’t give up.”
- Build your own support system
Starting a business is difficult and trying to take on too much by yourself is a sure fire way to crash out.
Having people support you in the process – whether that’s emotional support from family, or practical support from friends who are handy or have a skill you’re lacking – recognising your limitations and reaching out to those who can help fill in the gaps in your skills and knowledge, is a very important step on the road to success.
None of us are an island and we all need buoying up at some times in our life or other. So, take advantage of offers of help and seek out communities of people who have been in your shoes and have advice to give.
Take advantage of the wealth of support and guidance that you can get from joining online forums or social media groups on platforms such as LinkedIn. When you inevitably have a rough day or find yourself facing a challenge you don’t know how to overcome, there will undoubtedly be someone on one of the groups who has been there before and has a solution. Or at the very least, a sympathetic ear.
- 5. Count the costs
Be meticulous in your financial planning. Factor in every business expense that you can think of including rent, rates, supplies, marketing, phone bills, equipment, even petrol. Then whatever the amount is, double it! That’s probably far closer to what it will actually cost you.
Then think about how much you need to live on as a bare minimum and compare the two. Are you going to be able to manage? If not, then you need to invest some time in looking at start up finance. It may be that you can manage comfortably, but if not then it is better to address the issue now than to have a panic further down the line. Look at all your options, have a talk with a business finance professional and work out what would suit you best if the need for funds arises. A lack of money isn’t a reason not to start a business, but it is a reason to be extra prepared for all eventualities, and have a plan.
- Be a solution seeker
The key to every business’s success is becoming a solution maker. When you come up with solutions to people’s problems, you have a successful enterprise on your hands.
Ask yourself what problems you are solving for your customers with your product or service and if you can’t answer that, then you need to adjust what it is you are offering. It doesn’t have to be a world changing solution, but if it solves a problem for someone, you have a business.
The inventor of post-it notes will tell you that she just wanted to leave a message for her nanny somewhere she would see it, and now she has a multimillion-dollar company to her name.
Getting started in business is hard work. There is no simple formula for success but not being afraid of failure, knowing your core values, doing your research and planning well before getting started, and taking help where it is offered, can take you a long way down the path to success.