Starting your own business can be as daunting as it is appealing. The key is to take advice and get as much information as possible to make a realistic plan of action. Here are some things to consider.
- You get to keep the profits!
- It will make you extremely proud.
- Your ideas, strengths and attitude will be absolutely reflected in your brand.
- It brings freedom and flexibility unlike any employment option.
- Financial responsibilities – you must pay debts and chase those who owe you.
- Earnings vary considerably from one month to the next.
- No holiday or sick pay – and you’ll need someone to cover for you during those periods.
- Its success really is down to you.
- It must be sufficiently unique – if someone is already selling the same thing at the same price of the same quality to the same market, there’s no point you doing it. At least one of these criteria must be different to your competitor’s product/service.
- Who will want it? Have a very clear idea of your customer. Who is going to buy your product/service?
- Target audience – know how to target your customers, both in person and online. Be where the customer is.
- Know how to talk to your buyers – your brand will need a product tone and style.
- Have a plan – so investors will invest in your idea, and so you have something to measure your progress against.
- Most successful brands cause an emotional reaction from people; its buyers are loyal to the brand. Loyalty is what you’re looking to achieve because it’s very powerful.
- Niche ideas tend to be most successful.
Get a website
Having a website doesn’t need to be expensive, time-consuming or complicated.
But it does needs to clearly say what you are selling.
It also needs to reflect your brand and style, and that depends on your market audience. All your marketing must reflect the same branding and style from the website.
A website domain will give you an email domain. Decide on an email format. Have a look at Microsoft’s guidance to get an idea of what website-providing facilities and associated business packages are available. Whichever provider you choose, packages for product marketing and management of contacts can be very useful.
A website can be a very powerful tool. Remember, it’s not possible to tell how big a company is on the Internet!
Get visible (preferably for free!)
Promote your business through social networking websites. Once you have traffic, generate advertising revenue. Followers can be both customers and clients.
Use PR and editorial to get written about in the press. Self-publish your brand on sites like Lulu.com and Blurb.com. Websites like Etsy.com are great for selling handmade goods.
Use video-sharing websites to distribute content, and also consider that awards generate publicity, especially female-focused ones like Women In Business.
Once you’re off the ground
Split your time between:
- New business development
- Taking care of existing clients
- Finance, VAT and administration tasks
If you really struggle with any of these and you can afford to, outsource them.