For many people, setting up a business is the realisation of a dream they have harboured for many years. But while you might be looking forward to having a successful business, being your own boss and making your own living, the hard work starts here.
It can be difficult to figure out how to set up a business from scratch, so here’s our list of need-to-know elements to get your business idea off the ground.
1. Create a business plan
At its core, a business plan is a document that forces you to sit down and answer some essential questions about how you will run your business. Specifically, what is the purpose of your business venture and what are your goals?
Setting up a business plan is a good idea as it can be used to help you secure a business loan or funding from a bank, or it can simply be a run down of exactly what starting a new business will look like.
It includes everything from the details of your initial investment and business finances through to your mission statement. It might also be worth considering an exit strategy in your business plan. Oftentimes it can be tempting to expect everything will run smoothly as a small business owner and that you will easily reach potential customers and pay off all business debts, however it can be detrimental to not consider some exit routes.
2. Understand the market
To understand how to set up a business, you need to conduct thorough research in lots of areas. Market research helps you understand your target customer, your competitors and the industry. All small business owners should have a good overview of these aspects before starting, including opportunities and limitations within the target market.
Find out who your competitors are, where they sell, how they sell and how much they charge, then use this information to inform your own business decisions. Make sure you have your own niche or area where you know you can perform better than others.
Think about your perfect customer and draw up a profile, including age, gender, income, occupation, hobbies etc. Once you know who your ideal target customer is, you will have a better idea of how to reach them. and long-term deals so that you can keep more cash in your business. Need some advice? Just get in touch with our team.
3. Don’t quit your day job until you need to
A common mistake business owners make when setting up a business is jumping in with both feet before they’re making a steady income. Rushing in blind is not how to set up a business if you want to be successful. Even though it might mean working on your business at odd hours, keeping your day job in the early days of your business can be a great safety net.
If everything goes well then you might never have to work for someone else again, so take your time. Retaining a guaranteed income and the benefits that come with that, such as paid time off for holidays and sickness, could be invaluable.
Working in the evenings and during paid holidays will allow you to build your business steadily while remaining financially secure. Only when your business has started to generate a sustainable income should you think about taking the leap.
4. Calculate your startup costs
Figuring out your startup costs is a very important element of setting up a business structure as it ensures you have a good grip on your finances from the get-go.
Your startup costs will cover things like setting up your website, purchasing inventory and running paid ads. It is also a good idea to be prepared for unexpected costs like business insurance, personal liability insurance, corporation tax, property damage, legal requirements and fees. Including this information in your financial plan will help prepare you and relieve some of the financial stress.
5. Market your business
Marketing can be a challenging part of having your own business, especially as you’re starting up. But the fact is marketing will be where you spend a big chunk of your time and money.
This includes setting up your website, social media platforms, email marketing and logo. Setting up an online business provides a great way to interact with your current and potential customers, and let everyone know you exist. A good option is to start on a social media channel you are familiar with and build from there—just make sure it’s a platform your target audience uses.
Creating a content strategy that goes beyond your launch is an important step in reaching your target audience. This process is just as important as your product or service, especially in the first 12 months of your small business. Will you use paid ads on all your online platforms or just a few? How do you plan to gain customers organically and aim to retain them?
Understanding your brand identity is key here. What sets you apart from the competition and how can you use these features to market your business effectively?
6. Make sure you have the right equipment
Without the right technology, it will be impossible to get your business plan off the ground. It is vital to consider what equipment you will need on the business premises in order to operate effectively and reach your target market.
This could include desktops computers, laptops, MacBooks, iPads, printers or scanners in your office space, or could involve more specialised technology to create your product or service.
Buying this equipment outright can take up a huge slice of your budget, however there are more cost-effective alternatives out there. iPad, MacBook or laptop rental can be your saving grace in the early days of your business.
At Hire Intelligence, we offer a huge range of small business basics for you to hire on short-term and long-term deals so you can keep more cash in your new business. Reach out to our friendly team today for expert advice and to find out what we can do for your business.