Starting up a business is like falling in love for the first time. It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of something new.
We’ve all been there, when we first meet someone and experience those butterfly feelings in our stomach that we crave more and more, until the reality of living together kicks in and that butterfly feeling becomes over shadowed by our partner’s bad habits, that turn our stomachs in a different kind of way!!
Not forgetting the finances, housekeeping and coming to terms with having to share the TV remote… suddenly the dream is not looking so dreamy.
So, what comes next? We choose to either walk away or we embrace the hardship because we remember why we started in the first place; The Passion, The Butterfly’s, The Laughs, Family and so on.
When starting up a new business it’s easy to get carried away with the poetry of being one’s own boss, making your own decisions, doing something new to then later become aware of the ramifications of doing so.
Top Tips in creating solid foundations
for your new business.
Having a business plan in place is useful in helping you to get clear on your business idea and why there is a demand for it. It's your opportunity to set out the blueprint for your company, set out goals and measure your progress. Having a clear vision for your business not only helps you to stay on track, it also helps to lead the way for your employees and customers.
It’s important to note that although you set a plan for your business it’s not set in stone, the market may have you dancing to a different tune so it’s best to be flexible and quick on your feet.
First things first – get the paperwork and formalities out of the way. It’s tempting to get stuck straight into the good stuff but don’t be fooled, making sure you take care of these essential tasks will mean greater success for you in the future. If you ignore the basics, you risk losing out on a lot of time and money in the long-run.
Make sure you register your business and start to develop your brand.
The name of your business is crucial, take time to consider your options and make sure that the name you decide on reflects clearly to your customers what it is that you do.
Once you have decided on a name that you are happy with it’s time to design a logo, letterheads, business cards etc.
Register the domain name for your website. You may want to buy a few domains now that match your name i.e. innov8.com – innov8.co.uk – innov8.net and so on to protect your intellectual property in the future.
IMPORTANT: Check that the company name/logo you have decided on is not already taken. You can check this out here.You will also want to make sure that there is nothing unsavory that pops up on search engines when you type your company name in!
Build a strong network
Starting a business on your own does not mean that you must do it alone. Through networking your business and creating good relationships with like-minded business owners, you can ask them to promote your products/services in return for you promoting theirs - grow your business by helping others.
It’s crucial to build strong and trustworthy relationships with your suppliers, distributors and customers. As a start-up, you will rely heavily on recommendations therefore get to know people whose endorsement will make new customers take you seriously.
Make sure you are accessible
Building a website where you can share content with your consumers is crucial in today’s digital society. Having a digital platform is a critical resource to any business in making sure you are accessible and approachable to your customers. Points to consider when creating a website are;
Make sure your website is easy for your customers to navigate
Changing your content regularly on your website is crucial for good SEO and customer engagement therefore make sure that you can edit your website easily, having to ask a graphic designer to make a small change every week will prove costly over time.
Make sure your website is clear, professional and personable. Ask yourself, is it easy to use and understand? Is it visually interesting.
Continuity in the messages you deliver to your customers is key to building strong brand identity and customer engagement.
Choose a host that will provide quality support and ensure that your site loads quickly.
Make sure your website is mobile friendly.
Find out as much as you can about SEO or speak with an expert who can get you started.
Build up a good social network, growing your followers and likes with engaging content and incentives for potential customers.
Spend your money wisely
Be careful that you do not get caught up in the whirlwind and novelty of being your own boss, especially where money is concerned! Remember to park your ego at the door because you don't want to be funding a vanity project if you're looking to run a successful business.
It will help to draw up a cash flow projection for your business. As a start-up, this can be particularly difficult as you may not yet know how your products or services are going to fair in the market place. If this is something that you are un sure of or finances isn't your strong point, then I’d advise that you get in touch with an accountant or business adviser to talk you through the process initially.
As a new business, it will help you to assess the market and look at your competitors when considering your revenue projections. It’s important that you plan your finances, keeping your head above the water until you start to see some profit coming through.
My biggest lesson in my career and certainly in my own business venture is that ‘I can’t be all things to all people.’ Be clear on where your strengths lie from the get go.
Of-course it’s a good idea to make the most of your resources, even more so in the beginning however if you do have skill gaps, I suggest you consider getting the experts in.
A good lawyer or accountant will help you to get your head around tax, stop you from getting buried under paperwork and overwhelmed by small print, allowing you to focus on the bigger picture and driving your business forward.
Prepare for an emotional roller coaster
Going it alone comes with the certainty of emotional up’s and downs. Be sure that running a business is the right thing for you. To do this be clear on why you’re doing it in the first place. Set out now – What’s Your Why? Trust me you will need reminding of this a lot in the early and uncertain days of your business.
Finally, here at INNOV8 Scotland we wish you a long and happy marriage with your business ;)