It doesn’t matter whether you are going it alone in a creative field, whether you are importing the most aerodynamic ball bearings from Taiwan, or whether you are becoming a self employed accountant, being any sort of entrepreneur is tough. You are forced to go from a specialist to a bit of a Jack of all trades. You no longer specialize in your field, and instead, you have to take on board the role of HR guru, marketing bod, financial whizz, social media manager and payroll assistant. All the while, you are honing your business vision and working towards getting your new venture competitive and profitable.
There’s nothing worse than falling into the trap that eight out of ten new businesses succumb to. You don’t want to cease trading within your first eighteen months. There are a whole host of strategies that you can employ to maximize the success of your startup. Read on to find out how.
Make sure that you have the funding for your new startup in place before you resign and launch your venture. You could head to your local bank and make an appointment with the business loan professional. Here, you can present your business plan and pitch for funding. You need to prove that you are a responsible borrower by presenting evidence of sound financial management. This might involve your personal bank account statements as well as a reference from your home loan lender. Make sure that you stay in the black and don’t venture into your overdraft for at least six months prior to applying for funding. Clear as much personal debt as you can and ensure that any debt that you do have is managed rather than uncontrolled.
If you don’t fancy the traditional funding route, you could head to a business angel. These seemingly ethereal beings are masters within their chosen industries. They have decades of experience and are successful. They invest their own money into ventures that they can see making them a healthy return on their cash injection. Pitch to a business angel and be ready for some scrutiny. You need to know your gross from your net, and you need to put a value on your idea or company. Make sure that you have your risks mitigated and you know your profit and revenue projections for the next three years. Make a good impression, have a haircut and be enthusiastic and passionate about your startup. Get a business angel on board and you have a well and truly validated business idea.
Depending on the sector that you have chosen to start your business in, the chances are that you may have some legislation to adhere to. If you are setting up an eatery or street food business, you will need to obtain relevant health and safety certificates and food hygiene qualifications. If you are looking to set up as a tradesperson, you will need to look into the types of insurance electricians need and the sort of legal protection that gas engineers require.
Legally, you will need to show proof that you have this legislation through paperwork and paying for relevant licences. Get these sorted and you will be ready to trade.
No matter what industry you are starting your company within, you will need to make sales. The easiest way to hit the ground running with this is to attend a trade show. These industry specific events have readymade potential customers scouring the pitches. Your stall may be small but you can maximize your visibility by putting up banner, giving away free merchandise and by showing your product or service in action. Have a discount for your product for any purchases made on the day and try to set up an email list. Plaster your social media channels all over your stall and get people following you online. This will enhance your marketing and can get you noticed globally. To compete with your already well established rivals, you need to be relevant, present and seen.
In the twenty first century, every business needs to be online. This means connecting your website to your social media channels and maximizing the traffic that you can direct to your website. You might be a baker, a jewellery maker or a financial adviser – it doesn’t matter. Online presence is everything. Make sure that you respond to comments online quickly and appropriately. Social media allows you to find a more informal company tone and being in the public domain, it allows you to build a highly visible reputation straight away.
Consider honing a professionally made website utilizing SEO. This means that your site will appear high up in the Google rankings – this is vital if you are to leapfrog your rivals. You may have to undercut their prices initially to get virtual foot fall through your door. Ensure that you back up your prices, branding and online presence with exceptional customer service. By ensuring that you under promise and over deliver, you can gain a reputation for going the extra mile. If you know that you can deliver a product in two days, state that you’ll do it in three. This way, when it arrives on your customer’s doorstep one day early, they will have nothing but warm and fuzzy thoughts about your company.
Being an entrepreneur is anything but easy. However, it is exciting and thrilling to be the master of your own financial and professional destiny. The stresses you may feel as a newbie entrepreneur cannot be underestimated. You will have waved goodbye to your full time employed position with exceptional promotion prospects, decent wage and office colleagues. Going it alone can be lonely. You may wonder why on Earth you have given it all up and you risk burnout if you work all hours under the sun. You may need to consider outsourcing to help ease your business load. However, that is another article…
Follow this guide and you can arm yourself with vital entrepreneurial startup essentials.