Starting your own business is an exciting time. You’ve got a great idea and can’t wait to share it with the world. But there are seemingly endless things to plan for to get your new venture off the ground without a hitch.
We’ve put together this guide on what you need to prepare before you take the plunge.
The Cost of Setting Up
Starting a business needs an initial cash injection to get you going. How big this is depends on your business and how many resources you need.
Some business ideas need a lot more money at the start, such as manufacturing companies requiring land, warehouses, machinery, and staff. For others, you can get started with a simple laptop and a decent internet connection. It’s vital to think through the start-up costs and work out your budget.
Now’s a good time to sort out your business name, too. Make sure nobody else already has it or anything similar, including a domain for your website. There’s no point in spending any money on branding only to find out the name is already in use.
Don’t stop at the start-up costs. Think about the expense of running your business too. Are there ongoing maintenance costs or staff wages you need to cover? Look ahead to work out how much capital your business requires so you can work out a financial plan.
Do you have any funds already saved up to invest in your new business? Make sure you can secure any required investment to keep your business running. This could be through a loan, credit cards, help from family, or a mix of them all.
Of course, you must set up a system to keep track of your finances, monthly budgets and expenses. If any pennies are coming in or out, you need to know where and why.
Starting a business is hard work. You need a lot of time, grit, and determination to turn your idea into reality. To make it a little easier on yourself, learn the rules of business.
It’s a much simpler task if you’re starting a local business where the rules and regulations stay the same. It gets trickier if you want your business to operate overseas, as you need to understand international rules too.
It’s also time to learn the language of business. Do you know your gross profits from your KPIs? Business talk is full of acronyms, so familiarise yourself with these. It’ll make putting your business plan together far less daunting.
Make yourself an expert on whatever subject your business is based around, whether it’s a master crochet crafter or financial adviser. Research the topic thoroughly and get all the knowledge you need to be confident in that field.
Then turn your attention to undertaking market research. This is crucial to understanding whether there’s a place in the market for your idea. As a starting point, look at the current market size, potential for growth and your target audience.
Fortunately, social media has made market research a much easier task than it used to be. With a few clicks, you can reach people just about anywhere in the world and engage with them.
Look at what your competitors are doing, too. If you’re going into direct competition with someone else, is there enough of a demand for what you’re trying to supply? Or what are they doing that you could do better?
Target Audience and Marketing
After you’ve finished your research, you should know more about exactly who you’re trying to sell to.
Ask yourself, who are your customers? What are their buying habits and trends? When you know this, you’ll be able to direct your marketing to them in a more effective way.
Having a good website is a staple in modern business. It’s the first place many potential customers will find you, so you want your site to appeal to them. Think about factors like the age range, work and education levels, typical incomes and what their interests are. By doing this, you can tailor your marketing in a more specific way.
Health and Safety
Health and safety isn’t a glamorous subject, but it’s a necessary one. Even the best business can crumble if they don’t follow the rules. The requirements will differ based on your business setup, but there are a few things to look into.
Do you need any permits? Are there certain laws and regulations you need to follow? If you’re working out of a public office space, you’ll definitely need to follow certain rules.
- Health and Safety at Work Act
- Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
In short, you have a duty of care to protect employees and anyone affected by your business, so anyone coming onto your business premises. This includes carrying out risk assessments to identify potential hazards and how you can fix them.
Fire regulations are a big deal in every workplace. There are more specialised regulations in place since the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, meaning you need to carry out extra fire risk assessments to keep people safe.
It’s vital to ensure your office space complies with all fire safety rules and laws. And we mean everything, from carrying out suitable risk assessments to installing appropriate fire-prevention devices, such as fire-resistant doors and smoke alarms.
If you’re at all unsure, the safest choice is to seek advice from a company offering fire protection services. You don’t want to risk anyone’s safety or any financial loss from not being properly kitted out in the first place.
Starting a business is an exciting yet intense time. There are lots of different things to consider and it might feel like you’re faced with a new task no matter which way you turn.
But don’t let it put you off! Follow a few methodical steps and you’ll have a business ready to go before you know it.