Have you ever sat in bed at night pondering how much you are dreading going to work? Or found yourself wondering what it would be like to be your own boss or working your own hours? There is a solution to this: start your own business.
Today, a large quantity of women in the UK are setting up start-ups and shunning the traditional 9 to 5 job in search of flexibility and more control over their working lives. New research from Oxford Economics shows that one in 170 people in the UK now work for a small creative business, making and selling unique products or gifts.
Does this sound like your calling? Here is a step-by-step guide to help you start your own business:
To start your own business, all you need is the right tools and experience, as well as the right support to help you get there. You will find that having training, such as project management or enrolling on a business analyst course, can help you to understand the ins-and-outs of running a business and how to deal with any problems you may face along the way.
Find your idea
The key is to find something with a niche that hasn’t been done before. Ask yourself: ‘What’s missing in my area and what do people typically complain about?’ Look for problems and try to think of solutions – this could end up being your £1 million business idea!
The next step is finding out what competition you are up against to see if your business is necessary and will succeed. However, it is crucial to pick something you are into. As this will be your own company and you’re investing into it, you must be committed.
Write your business plan
Once you’ve decided on your business idea, create an in-depth business plan. This part is the most time-consuming, however it is highly important if you want your business to be successful.
Your business plan should include crucial information such as your basic business concept, your strategy and the specific actions you plan to take in order to implement them. It should also include the service you are offering and its competitive advantages, the types of clients you wish to have, how you will promote your business, and any financing you need to get started.
Make it ‘official’
Now that you’ve made the decision to start your own business, the next step is applying for a business license and permit. Before you can legally begin to operate your business, you need to have one of these to identify your business and ensure you are accountable for your actions, you can keep track of your finances for tax purposes, and ensure you adhere to the health and safety regulations.
Alongside this, it is also worth applying for insurance to protect your personal assets from any business liabilities. The best way to find an agent is by asking for referrals from friends and family, as well as other small business owners. Then compare the coverage and costs and see which deal is best for you and your business.
Starting up your own business is rarely cheap, but it depends on the type of business you wish to head into. According to a recent study in The Telegraph, the average UK start-up spends £22,756 in its first year, which includes £6,259 on legal costs, £3,937 on accountancy, £4,518 for HR and £5,518 on the formation of the company. The research also found that start-up founders tend to underestimate costs by around £2,000.
Understandably, the amount it costs to set up a business also varies depending where you are in the country. London-based entrepreneurs, perhaps unsurprisingly, will be hit with the highest costs – £30,211 – while entrepreneurs in Wales pay the least, at just £8,096.
Funding your business yourself is the best way to ensure you keep total control over your company, however, not everyone has a large enough money in the bank. As a result, there are various ways the government can help. For example, you can apply for a government-backed ‘Start Up Loan’ of £500 to £25,000 to start or grow your business on Gov.uk. Unlike a business loan, this is an unsecured personal loan and you’ll get free support and guidance to help write your business plan, and successful applicants can get up to 12 months of free mentoring.
Name your business
Choosing a business name is one of the most crucial steps in planning your business, so it is worth brainstorming until you come up with the perfect one. Don’t just choose any name – pick a business name that provides insight to the kind of business you will be pursuing and perhaps your brand’s background.
It is important that the name is short, unique and easily searchable. It is worth considering that two-syllable words are typically the most successful – for example, Facebook, Twitter, Starbucks etc.
Market your business
With everything else in place, you need to figure out how you’re going to market your company. There are various methods you can use, from word of mouth to the media.
Today, social media is the first place new customers go to check out a brand, so maintain a consistent visual voice across your platforms. That includes using the same handle for all your accounts, as well as a consistent look.
In addition, it is vital to be present. Get to know people in your field, and talk to them about what you’re doing. One of the best ways to get recommendations to your business is by networking with other professionals in the industry. Go to industry-based events and use social media sites, such as Twitter and LinkedIn – by doing this, it not only raises your own individual profile, but your new business’ too.