The feelings of excitement that you get when you decide to start your own business can be overwhelming. It is a great feeling, but the danger is that you can get carried away with yourself.
Making the plunge and starting your own business is something that should be treated with a degree of professionalism. Just because you haven’t taken the plunge yet, doesn’t mean that you should just head down a path that you have not properly researched.
The best advice is to ask yourself a series of questions. These questions are designed to give you a better idea of what you want to do and direction of how these things can be achieved.
Here are the questions that come recommended to you:
Are You To Be A Sole Trader or Limited Company?
Depending on which option you choose, it will have a big impact on how much legal responsibility your new business will have. It will also impact on how much tax you pay, as well as your financial responsibility.
Who Are Your Competitors?
Are you entering a brand new market, or do you plan to enter an existing one? Who are your competitors in your business space, if any?
If you are planning to enter a brand new market, then you should be aware of the companies that could potentially enter. These could be existing businesses that touch certain elements of what you are planning to do.
If you are entering an already established market, then you need to look at how well existing companies are performing? What do they do right? What could they improve? Are there any gaps in their product range and services offered? Who are they catering for?
The trick here is to do as much research as possible. Go beyond desk research and using the internet. You could pose as a potential customer and find out their customer journey and user experience. What is their after sales support like? Do they cross-sell or up-sell at any point?
The more information you have, the more you can act on it and tailor your products and service offering.
Who Are Your Customers?
Being able to define your potential customers is an essential part of any successful business. You will find it easier to concentrate on the potential customers and demographic rather than lose focus on the masses. But, who are your customers?
Try and do as much research on your potential customers as possible. Hold focus groups. Ask questions online. Post surveys.
Again, try and seek as much information as possible. This will help build up a bigger picture of your customers, allowing you to tailor your products and services to them.
Where Will Your Business Be Based?
Office space for small and large business interests are available commercially and are a great idea if your business requires an office space. Office space is a great idea if you plan to deal face to face with customers, clients and suppliers.
On the flip side of the coin is working within an office space at home. If your business does not require any office space, then this is a very affordable way of starting your business. You will have very little in overheads to pay out.
How Do You Pay Yourself A Wage?
Getting paid is something you may not have even considered. But it is something that needs to be thought about upfront, before you really start getting your business up and running.
You need to ensure that what you do pay yourself covers all of your living and working costs. This must include food, drink, roof over your head and any business loans that may be provided.
How Are You Going To Build A Brand?
The first point of call is to think long and hard about a business name. What do you want to be called? What will the name mean to people?
The name of your business will need to reflect your business values. It may also need to reflect the products and/or services that you offer. Are you going to add a local element to your business name?
When it comes to naming your business, you need to think about how people are going to find you. The online world is growing and shaping how people search for businesses, products and services. Make sure that you consider these things when thinking about your business name.
How Will People Find You?
As previously stated, the world of the internet should drive how you shape your business. Ensuring that you have a working website that is easy to use should be one of your priorities when starting your own business.
If your business involves selling products, you can set-up an e-commerce element to your website to allow people to buy your products online.
If you are a local business, which provides services to the local community, you should have an online presence which allows people to find you.
Whatever your business, having an online presence increases awareness of your business and can help drive sales.
How Are You Going To Fund Your Business?
Depending on what your business will be, will have an impact on how much money you need to get started. In an ideal world, you will already have the money banked somewhere to get the ball rolling. However, if you have grander plans, or you need a little cash injection to get things started, you may need to speak to the bank.
Banks are not the only organisations that can help you with funding. There are many organisations, from local and regional to national establishments, which can help provide grants to get your business up and running.
If you can’t get any funding straight away, don’t panic. You may have to go back to the drawing board to scale back your initial set up. Once you can prove your business works to a smaller scale, applying and receiving funding is made a lot easier.
Of course, there are many more questions that you must ask yourself before starting your own business. It is best to be as thorough as possible when planning to ensure a prolonged and successful business can be established.
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