12 Things to Think About Before Starting Your Own Business
Posted: 21 August 2020 at 8:41 am | Author: CAW Business School
Whether you’re just beginning to think about starting your own business, or it’s something you’ve been thinking about for a long time; take a look at some of the things you may need to think about before making the leap.
1. A company name
You will need to choose a name, and decide what you want that name to do. It could describe what you do, what you stand for, who you are or be more abstract. It’s also worth checking that your name hasn’t already been taken if you’re planning on becoming a limited company, and that there isn’t tons of competition for your business name online.
2. Company structure
When starting a business, you need to decide what structure works best for you: sole trader, limited company or business partnership? The structure you choose will influence responsibilities such as what paperwork you need to complete and when, the taxes you pay, how you take profit out and what happens if you make a loss.
3. Business plan and research
You need make sensible conclusions about your business’ viability and make decisions about how you are going to grow your new venture. You should research your target market and ensure there is demand for the product or service you plan to offer.
Take a look at your competitor activity, and what the demand is like in your area. Understand what your USP is, and ask yourself: how bright is your idea really? This isn’t about creating doubts or being negative, it’s simply about having realistic expectations for success, risk and growth opportunities before you get started.
4. Skills gaps, experience and training
Even if you have a killer business idea, you need to be realistic about what skills and training you need to put yourself in the best position to make your new business a success. For example, do you have the digital skills to create an online presence or marketing skills to spread the word generally. Do you have management skills if you’re planning on recruiting members of staff?
You’ll never know absolutely everything needed and unexpected things will come up all the time when running a business, but it’s important to keep boosting your professional skills.
5. Space and equipment
Whether that’s investing in your own premises, or finding somewhere quiet if you’re working from home; you need to have a space where you can focus on your new business. What’s more – no matter what size your business will be, chances are you’ll need some basic equipment such as a computer and company phone in order to get started. Make sure you account for this equipment in your start-up costs.
6. Finance and accounting
If you wish to separate your personal and business finances, and the simplest way to do so is creating a business bank account. You also need to decide how you will deal with your finances. You could handle your own finances and complete your tax returns and company accounts. Or you could invest in an accountant, who is professionally trained to ensure your accounts are legal, and can help you save money by ensuring you’re making the most of tax breaks.
You could have the best business idea in the world, but if no one knows you exist you won’t get very far. How will you spread the word and create a buzz about what you do?
Come up with a plan for how you will promote your product or service. This could include networking/personal selling, PR, social media and email marketing – and much more. You also need to consider any materials you may need, such as roller banners, posters and business cards.
8. Licensing and legality
You need to speak to your local authority about whether you need any special licenses to sell in your area. For example, running a business that serves food or alcohol legally requires you to be licensed. Equally, tradespeople such as gas engineers are required by law to be on an official register of qualified people. You also need to make sure the software package your business uses is licensed, and that you have appropriate business insurance in place.
9. Your online presence
Setting up a website is good way to kick-start your business’ online presence. You might also want to think about setting up social media accounts, and looking at how you can spread the word about what you do online.
Growing a new business is hard work. It’s worth connecting with people who can help you grow as a businessperson and entrepreneur. You could connect with local business groups, and show your face at local networking events. This way, you begin to build up your bank of professional contacts that you may be able to seek help and support from (or equally for you to help).
There’s also plenty on online resources for new business owners. You could also consider finding a mentor; someone who has been there, done it, and knows what you’re going through will be invaluable as someone you can turn to for guidance, or simply to bounce ideas off.
How will you get your business going and cover any startup costs needed to launch? Do you need to consider finding a business partner or applying for a loan? You will also need to work out how you will pay yourself. With the best intentions of ploughing profits straight back into the business; you’re going to have to eat, drink and put a roof over your head too. Include this in your outgoings. Do you have enough to pay your bills if you quit? Have you planned ahead by saving money so you do not need to work? Is it viable to keep your job and run the business at the same time?
12. Passion and dedication
Starting your own business can be rewarding, but it’s also hard work and will require endurance to make it the success you want it to be. You need to have the drive and self-belief needed to weather storms and frustrations, dead ends, late nights and weekends.
Sometimes the difference between the failure and success of a business is simply the determination to see it through and not give up when challenges arise. You will also need a high level of discipline in order to stick to your business plan, make and respect your budget, dedicate time to developing your business, and meet the goals you’ve set for yourself.