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 being your own boss and making your own living, the hard work starts here.
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We’ve canvassed the opinions of those who have been there and done it to find out top tips on how to set up your own business and hit the ground running. So, for all you would-be entrepreneurs, here’s our ultimate business startup checklist…
1. Create a business plan
Drawing up a business plan is an essential step in our business startup checklist if you intend to seek funding from external sources. Even if you don’t, creating a brief business plan which considers what a successful year will look like can be extremely beneficial. This will constantly evolve as you progress, but putting your thoughts down initially will help to reveal details you might have overlooked and identity elements that do not work in their current form.
2. Don’t quit your day job until you need to
You might wish that every day in your current job could be your last, but now is the time to take the long view. 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.
3. Understand the market
Jumping headfirst into a market you have little or no knowledge of is a recipe for disaster. Setting up a business in a sector you have at least some understanding of is almost always the best approach. If there are gaps in your knowledge about the market then do everything you can to fill them. Steps you should take include:
- Defining your customer profile – What does your ideal customer look like and more importantly, do they even exist? Draw up a profile of a typical customer that includes their age, gender, income, occupation, hobbies etc. Once you know what your ideal customer looks like, you can then think about how to target them. Here’s a more detailed guide to help.
- Researching the market – You need to know everything you can about the existing market. Are there companies already selling your products or services? What is the size of the market? How competitive is it? Is it growing or shrinking? Only proceed when any assumptions you have about the market have been proven or disproven.
- Assessing the competition – Take a close look at what existing players in the market are doing. If you plan to sell the same products or services at twice the price then your business is unlikely to work. Find out how much they charge, where they sell, how they sell, what you could improve on and what they do better than you.
4. Start marketing your business
You might have a fantastic product or service and there could be plenty of prospective customers out there, but how will you let them know that you exist? When thinking about how to set up your own business, marketing is definitely something to consider.
The first thing to think about is where your perfect customer hangs out. Are they heavy social media users or are they more likely to be found reading a particular magazine? Word of mouth can be an extremely powerful marketing tool, but you do have to think about how you’ll attract your customers in the first place.
5. Make sure you have the right equipment
Without the right technology, your business will be facing an uphill battle from the start. When setting up a business, think about what equipment you will need to operate effectively. Depending on your line of work, that could include desktop computers or iMacs, MacBooks or laptops, printers or scanners. Alternatively, you may need more specialised equipment.
The cost of buying this equipment can strike fear into the heart of the entrepreneur, but there are cost-effective alternatives out there. At Hire Intelligence, you can hire the small business basics on short-term and long-term deals so that you can keep more cash in your business. Need some advice? Just get in touch with our team.