So, you’ve decided to start your own business? Well firstly as a Business Coach at J21 Coaching, let me congratulate you. I am working with so many start-up businesses that are doing really well, due to professional guidance and direction.
It can be very exciting and daunting at the same time, leaving a steady job with a regular income; but these emotions are normal, just feel the fear and do it! Or you will never get started.
Here’s some Do’s and Don’ts when starting up a business.
- Do write up a business plan, which should include your goals, sales objectives and financials. It doesn’t have to be too long, 2 pages of A4 will suffice in the beginning. You can make changes and review at any time according to markets, you may also want to include a marketing plan to help with your Google ranking and visibility of your new concept. Consider it your road map as without it, you are likely to struggle.
- Do understand that a lot of patience will be required. It really can take time to establish a new business. Tenacity is essential.
- Do find yourself a local and affordable bookkeeper and accountant, as it will keep finances in order in the early part and will set the stage for when your balance sheet and cashflow starts to grow and look healthy.
- Do try and access any business start-up grants that might be available.
- Do a feasibility study and fully research your product or service, ensure that your business idea is feasible and will be profitable.
- Do prepare to use your own savings to get you started, as banks are usually quite sceptical about lending to start-ups as there is a proven high-risk element, calculated by the percentage of approximately 60% businesses in the UK that fold within the first 3 years.
- Do put in the hours needed and work hard. Invest in an affordable website, business cards, leaflets if needed as brand identity is essential, then be ready to take your business to market; this will include: networking and joining local business forums and committees.
- Do hire a Business Coach – it’s such a great investment; they will do the necessary hand holding and direct you and your vision forward; increasing confidence, establishing price points, goal setting, planning and securing clients.
- Do keep an eye on your competition and determine how you can go the extra mile for your new prospects so as to build your reputation.
- Do retain your focus and drive when doubts set in; we all have those days from time to time, usually during lean cash flow periods. These times will pass and you will regain your motivation.
- Do consider a payment referral scheme to help get you started.
- Do understand the power of a niche market.
- Do keep control of cash flow as it is the life of the business and needs to considered alongside profit margins. There is no point focussing on your sales funnel if the sales aren’t adding enough profits to the business, to help it grow stronger.
- Do support other businesses as you can help each other gain more traction and exposure.
And now for the DON’TS
- Don’t let anyone put you off establishing your business; if your idea has been well thought out, go with your own intuition! If it feels right – just do it.
- Don’t just set up a new business for the money, you will need other key components too, including passion, drive and commitment and understanding your WHY for doing it in the first place. It might be more freedom, less commuting, more family time and having full control of your decisions.
- Don’t ignore feedback, good or bad. This will contribute towards your business growth and any improvements needed.
- Don’t underestimate the hard work involved in establishing a new business; you really do need to be prepared to fully commit and sacrifice time and money
- Don’t expect instant success.
- Don’t get sucked into those professionals wanting to meet up for coffee! In most situations, they want to sell a new business something. A coffee on the phone is a much cheaper option.
- Don’t rely on someone else writing your business plan; it’s far better that you initially outline the content, then you can get an expert if needed to oversee it and ensure that it’s a professionally reviewed document. Remember to keep it close by to you, near to your desk as that way you can regularly keep a check to see that you are on track.
- Don’t be the best kept secret! Be visible and be ready to attract customers.
- Don’t assume that there is demand for your product or service; essential market research will need to be undertaken first.
- Don’t leave contingency planning until it’s too late, preparation is king!