Going into business by yourself is a risky venture and many that start don’t make it passed the first year, wasting investment. The business world is full of competition, but there is always room for inventive new products that are the solution to a problem, or that use technology to revolutionize society.
Less drastically, it could be that there is a need locally for companies that can offer better service than larger national companies. Whatever your venture entails, this is a step by step guide that will help you get your business off the ground and help you to waste time by avoiding common mistakes.
1. Motivation and Support:
The first thing you need is the passion and desire to work long hours and get through the barriers that people will throw at you. As a CEO, you will carry a lot of responsibility, and to start with you are likely to be the point of contact for most customers. This can be draining and if you are doing well it is likely you will be a victim to your own success. This can be when it is ideal to have a good support network around you, such as family or friends, to remind you of why you are putting yourself through it.
2. Registering as a business
Before you can start trading, hiring employees, or even renting commercial property, you need to register as a business. Different countries will have different restrictions on how to register, but in the main you will need a residential address in that country and proof that you have the right to work. Next you will need to decide on the type of ownership. If it is just one person who owns, runs, and is liable for the company then this is acting as a sole trader. If there is more than one then it becomes a partnership and different law apply.
3. Writing a business plan:
A business plan is essential for keeping you organised and to improve the chances of you sticking to the goals you set before hand. It is more than likely that some parts of the plan will need to change but it should give you an outline.
If you require investment or a loan, banks and investors will expect a detailed business plan and you will be expected to stick to it so that they will be guaranteed their loan back or a return on the investment. There is no point in exaggerating the impact of your business as it will cause you issues if you have not reached the lofty heights that you promised.
4. Unique Selling Point:
As briefly mentioned in the introduction to this article, a USP can be anything from a revolutionary product to being able to offer a better service. Apple and Sony are two examples of companies who used technology to introduce the world to something they didn’t know they needed.
Sony developed the Walkmen which introduced everyone to music on the go, and Apple’s smartphone started a lifestyle change as we currently can’t live without one. An example of a local company is Pimlico Plumbers in London, which employed plumbers who dressed smartly, showed up quickly, and were skilled in plumbing. The company quickly became the preferred consumer choice in the city and is now worth millions.
5. Intellectual Property Law:
The most common application of intellectual property law is through the use of patents, which prohibit other companies from copying a design in a zonal restriction. Patents are important for inventors and business owners, as it allows to earn money from their creations without someone who can make it cheaper undercutting them.
Another form of Intellectual law is through confidentiality agreements which are often used when working alongside another company on your product. It will stop them from leaking information related to the product legally. Confidentiality agreements are also important when seeking investment.
What comes first the chicken or the egg? A brand is known as a visual or name that consumers associate a company with. A brand reputation though is developed by the marketing and PR execution of a company, and the experiences of customers.
So it is important to come up with a brand image that reflects the values that you conduct yourselves with as a company. This way the brand image you desire will hopefully be close to the brand reputation your customers have. Companies such as Unilever and Proctor and Gamble invest millions into branding to ensure customers repurchase their products.
To develop a brand image, do research and find out what it is your customers expect from the brand. This could be company responsibilities such as community support, or simply low prices or high quality.
7. Digital Marketing:
Digital marketing covers a lot of aspects but the simplest form is using it as either e-commerce, or offering support to your customers. Having a website that can sell products is highly valuable, as consumer spending habits suggest that they either prefer to do their research online first or complete the purchase online. Any website should be updated regularly and be available in a mobile friendly layout to boost both search engine rankings and consumer spending.
Another form of digital marketing is using social media. This is now very popular with companies, as it allows them to advertise directly to consumers with little expenditure, or deal with customer inquiries quickly.
Advertising on social media and search engines is an increasingly important part of growing a business and should be considered if an online base is important to your business.
8. Hire an Accountant:
Having the expertise of someone who knows money is very important to your business and many businesses initially make the mistake of trying to keep track of spending, taxes, and income themselves.
There are many ways to save money, or manage it so that you can invest in your company efficiently. For example, an accountant may see that you’re paying too much in business tax and advise you to complete a business rates appeal, which could potentially save your company thousands of pounds if you’re significantly overpaying in tax.
Having someone to stop you from losing money can help relieve stress and although it is a cost it can save you more money as you look to grow.