What you need to know before you start a business

What you need to know before you start a business

Would you love to start a business but don’t think it’s possible?

Have you always dreamt of setting up your own business but the thought of entering the big wide world of entrepreneurship simply scares you more than Freddy Kruger popping in for supper on Friday 13th?

Would you love to escape the humdrum of working 9 to 5, being told where to be at what time, when you can eat and when you are allowed to take much needed time off with your family?

Well, your dream to start a business needn’t be so scary.  In fact, whilst it will undoubtedly be hard work, it can also be quite exciting and give a new lease of life that leaves you energised and looking forward to each day.

But first things first.  There are a few things to consider if you want to make your journey as smooth as possible and go from fearful to fabulous.

What’s your passion?

The start-up businesses that have the best chance of success are those that are based on a passion that will carry you through the difficult times.  Doing something you love day in and day out doesn’t feel like work.  It feels like fulfilment.

So, think hard about what you love doing.  What can you see yourself doing in 10 years and still loving?

What are you good at?

Now here is the tough question!  What are you good at?  It’s no good having a passion for something but not being very good at it.  People simply won’t part with their hard-earned cash.

Putting passion and talent together, I know that I love walking my dog, but keeping her under control is a challenge and I am sure if I tried to start a dog walking business, my passion would turn into a chore.  You need to think about this carefully.  It’s no use starting a gourmet burger bar if your cooking skills are akin to flipping burgers at McDonalds, no matter how much you love being in the kitchen.

What will people pay for?

The third piece of the start a business jigsaw is considering what people will pay for, and enough people to make you a profit.  You may love crocheting tea cosy’s but if everyone is now making individual cups of tea rather than using a tea pot, you are not going to make any money from your business idea.

I started my business consultancy because I have an absolute passion for helping other women build a life and income stream that gives them the freedom to do what they have always dreamt of.  I knew I was good at this as I had a proven track record of helping hundreds of people start up and build their own successful business.  And I knew that if people were serious about their business, they would willingly pay to get the help and support they needed to kickstart their success.

 

So now you have your idea to start a business.  But what next?  There are a few key steps you need to take if you really want to give yourself the best chance of success.

Self-belief

The first step is self-belief.  You must:

  • Believe you are good enough
  • Believe what you sell is worth it
  • Believe that your clients will gladly pay you

Because quite simply if you don’t believe in yourself and what you are doing, then why the hell should anyone else?  This can be a real challenge for women starting their business so take the time to write down all things you have achieved in your life, all the compliments you have received, qualifications you have gained etc.  Look at this on a regular basis and start to believe in yourself.

Create a plan

Remember the adage ‘fail to plan, plan to fail’.  Yes?  Well it applies to you when you start a business.

It’s all too easy to become so enthused and excited about your new idea that you dive in without any real thought and planning.  This invariably leads to a rude awakening down the line.

You need to plan:

  • How much you want to earn
  • Your capacity for how much you can make
  • What hours you are going to work
  • Who you need to help you and what resources you need
  • How much it is going to cost to get your idea off the ground and to keep it running
  • What you are going to charge
  • How much profit you will make (and will this be enough for you to live off)
  • How you are going to be better and/or different from your competitors to stand out from the crowd
  • Who is going to buy your product or service and how you are going to get them to know about it
  • How you are going to take payment and deliver to your customer

 

Test your idea

To minimize the risk of failure, try testing your business idea out on a small scale before going all in.  This will provide you with valuable feedback as to whether others love your idea as much as you do and if they are willing to pay for it.  You can then tweak your idea if necessary and minimise the risk of a spending far too much blood, sweat and tears on something that simply isn’t going to work.

If you are currently in a day job, by testing your idea out of working hours on a smaller scale, you can continue to earn a salary to pay your household bills each month and ease the financial pressure whilst getting your business off the ground.

Seek advice

If you’re serious about starting your own business and making it a success, find yourself someone who has been there and done it and made it a success to help you on your path.  Trying to go it alone will be both be lonely and quite likely a very expensive mistake.  Find someone with the experience and independent perspective to help you steer clear of the numerous start-up mistakes so many make.

 

If you follow these top tips then you can start a business.  It ain’t gonna be easy.  It’s going to be a rollercoaster of a ride.  I remember the days of going from a feeling of euphoria that I was going to be a millionaire by the end of the year to the depths of despair that I was going to be bankrupt by the end of the month all in the space of 5 minutes!  But if you are brave enough to hang on tight, you will make it to the end and the feeling of achievement will be worth every single bit.

There is nothing better than working on your terms, at the hours you want, and setting your own ceiling of income to live the life you have always dreamt of.

I’m one of the lucky ones.  I have survived the hard times.  I now have a business and life that I simply love and could not be happier.  If you would like me to help you build the same for yourself, take a look at all The Small Business Kit has to offer.

 

Thinking of starting a business

Thinking of starting a business

Are you thinking of starting a business?

If so, there are a few considerations to bear in mind before ploughing ahead in order to give your business idea the best chance of success.

Create a business plan.

It is very easy during the initial enthusiasm of thinking of starting a business to jump in with your new idea and overlook the finer details that can help indicate the likelihood of success.  Many think that business plans only need to be written when trying to raise finance, but the actual writing out of a business plan can help you define your business idea, assess it’s viability, define your goals and plan how you are going to achieve them.  It will help you think about your competition and what you are going to do to stand out amongst them.  It will help identify where you product or service will be placed in the market and what people are likely to pay for it.  Most importantly it will help you plan your cash flow and how you are going to survive in the early days until you get it fully off the ground.

 

Beware of going ‘all in.’

There are many people who have used their credit cards to the max or re-mortgaged their homes to fund their business idea.  For the rare few, this gamble paid off.  But for many more, this led to tears and financial ruin.  Think carefully before putting everything on the line for starting your business.  Starting a business is stressful enough as it is without the additional worry each month that you may be on the verge of losing your home.  Do your research, write your business plan and consider carefully how your business will be funded.

 

Test the waters before giving up the day job

To minimize the risk of failure, try testing your business idea out on a small scale before you throw in the towel on your day job.  There are numerous small business owners who remained in their day job whilst building their own business slowly in the evenings and at weekends.  Yes, it will take you longer, but the risks are far lower and you will still be able to earn a salary to pay the household bills each month.  A word of warning though, do check there are no restrictions in your employment contract restricting you from carrying out work elsewhere.

 

Save for a rainy day.

Even the most successful of start-up businesses can be caught in an unexpected market downturn.  And there is always the unexpected scenario or emergency that no one could have predicted.  From the moment of thinking of starting a business, make sure you build up a financial buffer and continue when your sales are good so that you have something in reserve in case the lean times hit.  If the unexpected does happen, you will still be responsible for the business bills.  Having a cash buffer will take the pressure off if the bad times hit and could mean the difference between your business surviving or failing long term.

 

Protect yourself.

Too often I hear ‘it will never happen to me’ but every business is vulnerable to potential risks.  It is so important to have a backup or disaster recovery plan in place and to protect yourself and your business from potential risks.  Take some time to think about worst case scenarios and how you’d handle them. What if a fire or flood destroyed your office? What would happen if a customer or employee sued your business?  What would happen if you were ill or injured and couldn’t work?  Make sure you have insurance protection in place and put procedures in place to ensure your business could continue to run in the worst case scenario.

 

Start with the end in mind.

Start with the end in mind.  Many start up business owners think it crazy to be thinking about selling their business before it is fully up and running, but by planning what will ultimately happen with the business in the future, will help you plan and set goals to achieve along the way.  Without an end plan in place, a business can drift along and go off track and not be as successful as it could be with a clear exit plan in place.  Remember, one day you will either want to hand over the reins or sell on and have a nice lump sum in place for your retirement.

 

Seek professional advice.

If you’re serious about starting your own business and making it a success, find yourself a mentor or advisor to give you expert advice.  An experienced business advisor can be there to help you develop your business plan and launch your new career. They can be an invaluable sounding board and their experience and independent perspective can help you steer clear of the numerous start up mistakes so many make.

 

So if you are thinking of starting a business follow the steps above to help you make it a success.