Before starting your own business it’s important to ask yourself a number of questions. Not least of which is why are you going into business?
If you can coherently answer these questions then you are more likely to have a successful business than if you cannot. Many people rush into business and it ends in disaster. The majority of businesses fail within the first year. The actual figures are a bit scary, but you shouldn’t be disheartened by them. If you know what you are doing and have a good idea of why you are going into business, as well as a carefully thought out business plan then you’re likely to be a step ahead of the rest. Put in the hard work and hopefully your business will survive the hard times and grow into a successful enterprise.
- Why are you going into business?
People start their own business for many different reasons; because they want to be their own boss, because they have found themselves redundant or unemployed or simply because they have a good business idea. These reasons alone are not always enough to start your own business. It’s important to know why you are going into business and what you are planning to do. This will give you more direction and focus and hopefully lead to a more secure business start-up.
- What are you planning to do?
Before starting your own business you need to know what you’re going to do. Hopefully it will be something that you are good at and have a passion for. Many businesses make the mistake of trying to be a jack of all trades, catering to a wide market by providing a large range of services. Quite often it is better to be specific and cater to a niche, especially in the early days. This will allow a business to dedicate more time to quality of a single product and thus offer something which stands out from the competition and is more likely to be successful. As the company grows, the business may expand its product offerings, widening the market, but being careful not to compromise on quality.
Of course some businesses naturally need to offer a multitude of products. A news agents for example could hardly only offer one brand of newspaper and one flavour of crisps. Variety is important and the focus of the business will depend on the market. Knowing what you are going to do will allow you to properly plan for the future of your business as well as the beginning.
- Who are your customers?
Knowing who your customers are (or who they will be) is an important part of starting a new business. Having an idea of your target audience will allow you to design your advertising and marketing strategies as well as the quality and design of your products and services to cater to the right people.
- What is your Unique Selling Proposition?
It’s a bit cliché and you’ve probably heard it a million times, but to have an edge in business you need a USP or Unique Selling Proposition. If you cannot do something different from the competition, how do you hope to stop your potential customers from going elsewhere. You need an edge, even if it’s simply putting a twist on an already common product or coming up with a unique marketing strategy. Knowing what your USP is and getting it in your business plan will help your business succeed from day one. Investors will be far more willing to help your business knowing you have a visible edge over the competition.
- How will you finance your business start-up?
This is the one thing many businesses struggle with. Getting a business started obviously requires a finance injection from one source or another. Many entrepreneurs are unsure where to acquire finance, how to go about it or find themselves turned down at every corner. Take a look at our article “Business Finance – Top 10 ways to fund your new business” for a few hints and tips on getting finance for your new business.
- What business structure will you use?
Have you given any thought to the business structure you are planning to use? Your chosen industry and personal position might have an influence on your choice. The advantages of a limited company often make it the most common choice for starting a new business, but there are plenty of others as well. Some people might choose to form a limited liability partnership. Whatever your choice, it’s important to give some careful thought to the benefits and the laws that will apply to you, before getting started.
- What are your business goals?
Clearly you have some goals for your business. Probably the main one being making as much money as possible. It’s important to set some goals and make a plan. Incorporate this into your business plan so you can keep your business on track and in the future, monitor how successful your business has (or hasn’t) been.
Business goals may well be more than just turnover or profit. You might aim to gain a certain percentage of market share or number of new customers. Whatever your business, it’s a good idea to have a goal and something to strive for.
Whatever you’re doing, try to remember why you started in the first place. You’ll get further and be more successful! All the best and a dose of good luck from us!