Starting your own business

Starting your own Business

If you’re thinking of starting your own business, then prepare to make one of the biggest decisions you will ever make. A 2019 poll found that 64% of UK workers had visions of becoming their own boss and the Coronavirus would have upped that figure dramatically. Doubts in the certainty of both job prospects and the economy, in general, have accelerated thoughts of starting a new way of life. If ever there was a time to fly, then there will probably never be a bigger catalyst.

 

Why be your own Boss?

The dangling carrot of self-employment comes in many shapes and forms; some romantic, some practical and some from necessity. The list includes:

  • Long-held ambitions
  • Unemployment
  • A lifestyle change
  • More flexible working hours
  • The opportunity to work from home
  • A chance to make your own decisions
  • An opening in the market place

A third of British workers claim dissatisfaction with their jobs and the lure has never been stronger. More and more searches are being conducted through search engines like Google for phrases like ‘Starting my own business’.

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Are you Prepared?

Romance aside, the reality of starting a business is something completely different. 20% of new businesses fail within the first year of trading with 60% putting up the shutters within the first three years. If you are thinking about starting a business and you don’t want to become one of those statistics, you need to make a start on your planning. Get that bit right, and running your business could be the best decision you ever made.

 

Planning & Preparation

New businesses fail for many reasons but a lack of preparation would be high up on the list. As the old saying goes, ‘Fail to prepare. Prepare to fail!’ A well-conceived business plan would dramatically reduce the chances of failure and would primarily consist of:

  • Sales & Marketing Plan
  • SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis
  • Financial Planning (inc. Cashflow Forecast & Projections)
  • Market Research & Targeting
  • Competitor Analysis
  • A Data Back-up & Recovery Plan

This all may seem a million miles from where you are now, but once you start to get your head around it, the mist clears, and it seems like the most obvious thing to do. A bit of advice from the right quarter and you will be amazed at how it all starts to come together. This plan is not about box-ticking, it’s how you should be looking to run your business over the given period. It can be tweaked and even changed as you progress – but at least you have a plan!

The Everyday Essentials Tools

Once you have your blueprint for survival in the bag, attention needs to be turned towards thinking about the everyday essentials you will need to run your business. Office & production space, staff, IT, specialist software, bank account, telephones, furniture, website and social media strategy are some of those which immediately leap to mind. If you don’t put these in place, you will jeopardize your productivity and efficiency with your brand image becoming the ultimate loser – it’s a slippery slope from there. Here are some sobering facts to consider:

  • 98% of customers say poor phone manner leaves a bad impression
  • 70% of customers who stop dealing with a company, do so because of poor customer service
  • 61% of consumers take their business elsewhere because of poor customer service
  • 4 out of 5 people hang up if put in a queue or faced with an answering machine

They may be sobering but they are totally avoidable if given the necessary time and thought.

 

Sales & Marketing

Being good at producing or supplying anything isn’t enough on its own to secure the long-term future of any company, you need customers. Finding enough of them is the perennial problem and there’s something that you need to understand from the off. Sales and marketing may be closely connected, but they are not the same – fact! Don’t think that just because you are selling, you are marketing, you need to know the difference. Marketing deals with creating the initial interest around your company and its wares, a little like firing a flare into the air and saying ‘We’re over here! Sales strategies concentrate on how you will convert that interest into customers.

The Smoke & Mirrors of Digital Marketing

To the uninitiated, digital marketing remains a subject that belongs in a spy thriller. It involves lots of acronyms, confusing terms and buzz words, which when spoken, are considered to be something that everyone understands – but they don’t. It’s a huge landscape and it’s changing all the time with the prime mover and shaker – Google, changing its algorithm constantly. This algorithmic code is one of the most powerful forces on the planet as it’s directly or indirectly responsible for influencing the fortunes of practically every company that trades. If you don’t get into bed with Google best practices, you are fighting the tide.

 

What do I need to Do?

You will need to target your potential customer audience by understanding where you can find them, what their habits and interests are, and how you can make your company visible to them. Digital marketing channels such as websites, SEO, email campaigns, social media, Pay Per Click, content marketing, mobile marketing and subsequent data analysis are the tools you will need. The good news, is that there are brilliant tools offered free of charge by Google to do much of what is necessary.  They will enable you to reach a massive audience that otherwise – would never know you even exist.

 

Your Customers

Customers are the most important part of any business and without them, you won’t have a business. Even you want to compete with your competitors on an even playing ground, you will need to engage with digital marketing on some level. Many of the words and phrases on this page may have no meaning at present, but that’s for you and I to put right. Demystifying digital marketing is what I do for a living.

Get in Touch

Serious about getting your business to move up a gear, but not sure how to make it happen? Then please drop me a line.

But don't leave it for another day, that day has a strange knack of never arriving!