Whether you want to start a small, medium, or large business of your own, this guide can be of use to you. Starting your own business can be exceedingly difficult if you don’t know where to turn for advice, but we have all the information here to help you get off to a good start. Read on for our expert’s guide on steps in establishing a business.
Good businesses need a good foundation
The best businesses start with a unique and innovative idea. Business models like that of eBay or Amazon, or similar to that of Deliveroo, are fantastic examples of this. If you’re starting smaller and without quite so much finance as they had, then you can be forgiven for not achieving quite the same success.
It is important to remember that you don’t need to come up with a boundary-breaking way to conduct operations in order for your business to be successful. In fact, you will find that the most successful business models are those that are already in use and that have stood the test of time. There is nothing wrong with opening a bricks-and-mortar store, specialising in B2B contracts, or working in a niche market. All of these have proven to be excellent marketing techniques in the past.
The point is that there is no need for things to get complicated. The simpler, the better, at least for those with very little business experience. If you have a great business idea that copies another model – so what? At least you know that model will work.
Business ideas in 2019
Modern business trends have seen a surge toward digital opportunities. Digital Technology is having an effect on all types of industry. The Office of National Statistics estimates that almost half of the UK workforce will be working from home by the year 2020. This can be solely attributed to the rise in IT, connectivity, and the globalisation of the digital world.
The modern drive towards online businesses should not constrict you. If you have an idea for a product, skill, or service you think you can sell, then don’t be swayed by digitalisation. The world will always need carpenters, plumbers, chefs, and carers, even if it does modernise old job titles. Technology is there to make our lives easier, not to eradicate all other job types.
So, what are the most popular new business start-up ideas of 2019? Dropshipping has seen a huge rise in the last year or so. It involves connecting buyers to sellers by hosting an online store. The manufacturer ships directly to the client and you take a small mark-up you added in between. Web and Graphic Design and consultation are also popular. Airbnb has become a way for several new business owners to conquer the hotel market, while online bookkeeping, freelance writing, and business brokerage have also seen a surge.
The steps to starting your own business
Let’s break it down and look at the steps you will need to set up your own functioning business. Let’s assume that you have an idea of what industry you would like to focus on, and what type of work you would like to do. The first thing you will need to do is to research your industry.
Step 1 – Researching your business
This is the first step; this determines whether you can further develop your business idea beyond this point. If you start to focus on your market, product, or service and realise that there simply isn’t any demand for it, then you will be forgiven for starting again. You cannot sell a product or service that nobody wants, and this is the chief reason we research before we commit.
Key Area 1: The customer
When you are deciding whether or not to turn your business idea into a reality, you need to look at three key areas. First of all, focus on your customer. Who will they be? What will they buy? What sort of people are they? Does the market for your goods actually exist? After you have built up an accurate portrait of the type of customer or client you would like to attract, you can start looking at the industry and finding out if these clients exist.
Key Area 2: The market
Secondly, you will want to research the market itself. Is it stable? Are there fluctuations? Are other people selling your products? Who are your main competitors? What can you learn from them? The better your knowledge of the industry you are about to enter, the more chance you will have of success.
Key Area 3: The Business
Third: think about the business itself. What licenses will you need? What insurance should you get? Is it a viable way to support your lifestyle? What do you need to learn about IT, taxes, or securing finance? This is the part that puts off many of the potential new business owners – but there is plenty of help and support available. The British Government have plenty of guidance on this, but the Business Gateway pages also contain sound advice.
Step 2 – Choosing the right name
Your company name is going to be a major factor in your brand recognition. Along with your logo, it is the main way people will be able to recognise you. It should properly incorporate the nature of your business, alongside the manner in which you want to conduct it. Think of McDonald’s whimsical style or the corporate success of Google. All of these firms had a great name… and if you don’t, you might not be able to keep up.
Tips for a good company name:
- Be careful about initials – read your name aloud before you commit to it.
- Run it through Google Adwords program to see if it is often searched.
- Be specific about who you are and what you do. Misleading company names rarely progress.
- Try to put some sort of meaning behind your name.
You can read more about designing the right name courtesy of Entrepreneur. They are also a resource you should bookmark for learning about businesses and their needs.
Step 3 – The business plan
Along with a good name and a lot of research, you will need a business plan to map out future cash projections, detail your firm’s operations and keep track of your progress in a quantitative manner. This document is not an essential tool if you want to register as a sole trader in the UK, but it is advisable. You will need it if you want to secure financing from investors.
The business plan should include an executive statement, the business history of your firm, your own skills and working history, all your business details, tax numbers, and any other information vital to the running of your firm. Notably, the business plan should include marketing and advertising plans, as well as financial cash flow projections for the future. The more detailed these two sections are, the more likely you will be to get the funding you are looking for.
Step 4 – The logo
You will need a logo when you go into business. This will appear alongside your company name and titles on any formal paperwork. It will also serve as a marketing tool that boosts brand awareness if you can get it exposed enough. Advertising and marketing will be much easier if you get this part right, so make sure to research which colours and shapes are received well by your target market.
A good logo should be representative of your business. It doesn’t need to be bold or overbearing – but it does need to reflect what you do. A bad logo will mislead your clients and could lead to a lack of business. So, take your time over this. We would suggest that you hire a professional to do this on your behalf unless you are a graphic designer. A tacky logo will do nothing for your brand’s image.
Step 5 – Financing your business
There are always options for funding a business, even if you think you have no credit. Nowadays, Kickstarters and Crowdfunding are the base-line measurements against which funding should be measured. Gone are the days of sweating through meetings with the bank manager… Although if you want to work in the financial sector then we can’t help you there.
What we can do is point you towards potential sources of start-up income. You can get a start-up loan but we think these should be reserved for only the most desperate. Loans include paying back money you didn’t borrow – and we are all trying to make money here. See if you qualify for any government or local council grants instead. You could also ask family and friends who believe in your project for financial support. Do be wary of this though, as it may lead to future fallouts.
You can find a few more ideas for funding your new business by visiting this page.
Step 6 – Establishing an online presence
Establishing your business as an online presence is the best way to get yourself known among the younger generations of the consumer. It is estimated that younger generations spend roughly 2-4 hours per day on their smartphones. Add to this the time they also spend online gaming or on laptops studying, and you have a huge global audience at your fingertips… that you can reach without leaving your house.
Wondering how to establish an online presence? Follow these top tips:
- Set up a web page. You can do this easily using the drag and drop features offered on sites such as Yola and WordPress. If you want to sell your wares you can even devote one page to be your online shop.
- Start a blog on your page or a site like Blogger. You don’t have to write the posts yourself; don’t worry. Get on Upwork or People Per Hour and hire a professional writer to do it for you. The purpose of a business blog is to promote your firm by hitting various target keywords. This will help you grow through the rankings to the coveted top spot in search results.
- Create social media accounts. You should have accounts for each of the following: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and possibly SnapChat. You should also connect to any social media sites specific to your brand or wares.
- Connecting it all together – once you have all these, provide frequent links between each of the accounts to drive traffic, boost sales, and promote your business.
The final tip for establishing an online presence people remember is to post to your social media accounts every single day. The advertising rule of seven is no joke. It takes your average customer seven glimpses of our brand or logo before they remember you. You can easily achieve all seven of those with a good Facebook campaign.
Step 7 – Register your new business!
Now that you have come this far, there is only one final barrier between you and trading – and that is registering your business with HMRC or with companies house if it happens to be a limited company. Once your business is registered and HMRC know that you are in operation you can legally start trading! You will need to do your own taxes at the end of every fiscal year, but the rewards will make this small thing seem inconsequential.
Starting a business of your very own is difficult – otherwise, everyone would do it! However, if you endure, have the guts, grit, determination, and luck of the market on your side, then you just might succeed. If you never take the chance, how will you ever know?
This article was written on behalf of The Brand Perceptionist by Alexander Ffrost. Alex is a serial entrepreneur with a passion for small business, and the creation of new stuff that no-one else has made or that beats the heck out of anything previously created. He loves starting and growing new companies in challenging sectors. Preferably with zero prior experience of the market or industry. In his spare time, Alex starts new brands and dreams of one day being Sir Alex. Or, alternatively, just designing another shirt with a “touch of Ffrost”. To learn more about Alex and his awesome inventions, visit his website at www.alexffrost.com.