Starting your own business is exciting but involves hard work. You will have to do, or at least be aware of, every aspect of running a small business to comply with regulations, handle finances and deal with staff. And that’s in addition to all the marketing and promotion; developing products and services that you will need to do. It will be tough but great rewards can come to those prepared to put in the hard work.
Running your own business is exciting too; it gives you the freedom to work in a way that suits you best but it is also a challenge. If you have been employed for any length of time you will have got used to certain aspects of a business being dealt with by someone else behind the scenes.
We all know that many small businesses fail in the early stages and this is often down to a lack of planning. It is easy to get carried away with the excitement of owning your own business and not plan the essentials properly, but good planning is far more likely to result in a successful business so try and curb your enthusiasm to do all the things that interest you and make sure you have the business basics covered. David Mercer over at SMEPals.com has written a genuinely fantastic series of beginners’ guides to small business that will help you get off to the right start.
You may decide to start small and initially run the business from your home; this can work well if you have the space and good access to facilities and broadband but if it encroaches on your family life and you find yourself thinking about moving house just to accommodate the business then, clearly, there could be better options.
Remember that being a business owner brings with it additional responsibility in the form of legal, health & safety and financial obligations. Expect to work hard in the early years – maybe harder than you ever have before.
Think about what you personally hope to achieve from the business; of course, financial reward will be up there at the top of the list but what about the other perks of being your own boss such as deciding where to work and what hours you will work and choosing who to do business with. All of your objectives should be written down so that you don’t lose sight of your original aims. Of course, you may not achieve these aims immediately but, at least, they will be a stated goal for a year, 5 years or 10 years down the line.
A new business does not have to be based on a new idea but it does have to have something that differentiates you from the competition. Are your prices cheaper or do you offer a bespoke or personalised service, or do you offer genuinely valuable advice on your business blog; whatever that difference is make sure you understand the competition and their capacity to change the way they work so that you are no longer different from them especially if they have a well-recognised brand and already have a foothold in the market. Remember to stay up-to-date with regular training and mentoring for both your staff and yourself so that when the business tsrats to grow it keeps on growing.
And of course don’t forget about the financing – even in today’s world of “on demand” services and for many businesses no need to hold large amounts of stock, you will still need a certain amount of money to get started. A website, advertising costs, staff costs all have to be covered somehow.
A good accountant will help with the financial planning side of a new venture and can advise on sources of finance such as a loan, overdraft, government grants and venture capital. They can help you determine which route is most appropriate for your business and the costs involved in the various different approaches. Remember that loans will usually require some security but avoid using personal assets for this. Again take the advice of a chartered accountant who can advise on the best route as well as ensuring you are not paying too much tax, helping prepare a business plan that will secure you a good finance deal as well as various other accounting services.