- Do your research first
What is the size of the market? Who are your competitors? What can you offer that they don’t? Thorough research will allow you to understand the size of the potential opportunity or rethink your plan entirely.
- Create a business plan
Creating a business plan will allow you to think through all aspects of the business. What are its strengths and weakness? What are the opportunities and are there any threats that could result in the business not succeeding? If you don’t have enough of your own funds to start the business, lenders such as banks or external investors will want to see that you have a viable business plan.
- Prepare financial projections including a cashflow
Preparing financial projections are a good way of identifying what income and costs the business is likely to have and what cashflow pressures may exist and when. Projections should be able to be sensitised to show the impact of variations on your assumptions about the businesses predicted income and costs.
- Get legal and tax advice before you start trading
Not getting the right legal and tax advice at the beginning normally makes it more expensive and difficult to correct if you get it wrong. Do you need a licence to trade? Will the business need to be VAT registered and charge VAT to its customers? Should you operate as a sole trader or through a limited company?
- Ensure the business won’t run out of cash
Many new businesses fail because they run out of cash. Ensure you have a backup plan. Finding funding for a new business can be difficult because banks like to lend to businesses with a proven track record rather than new start ups. You may have to rely on your own savings initially until the bank gets comfortable with your ability to run a profitable business.
- Get help from others
Getting distracted by things like bookkeeping , dealing with HMRC and legal issues are a distraction that will stop you concentrating on why you got into business in the first place, a passion for something you enjoy. Get help from the experts. It will save you time and money and give you peace of mind that things are being done correctly.
- Establish a strategy to win new clients or customers
Until the business has established brand awareness in the market, you’ll need to work hard at getting new clients or customers. What are the channels to reach your customers? Is it social media, advertising, face to face networking or most likely a combination of all of these?
- Access support
Government agencies such as Business Gateway can provide a variety of support and resources to help you if you are thinking of starting a new business. Check out www.bgateway.com
- Be friendly and professional
Being friendly and professional will get you a long way in business. Clients or customers will want to come back to you as you’re nice to deal with you and they know they can trust you to do a good job for them. Try to under-promise but overdeliver.
- Have a backup plan
What will you do if the business fails? Are you able to work at the same time as starting the business so that you still have money coming in. Most start up businesses make a loss at the beginning so having another source of income will take some of the stress out of starting a new business.