"If you can dream it you can do it"
- WALT DISNEY
If you’re thinking about starting a business, then you’re standing at the start of an exciting journey. Starting your own business is your chance to turn your ideas into reality, and do something that no one has done before.
For many people, this step into the unknown can be at least a little nerve wracking, but following some basic guidelines can make things a lot easier. If you’re in the process of working out your next steps, our infographic can help set you on the right path.
What’s already out there and what makes your business different? Test your idea out on your target market - be it friends, family or even strangers on the street, and do some competitor research.
Here’s where the fun really starts. Brainstorm name ideas and decide which is the strongest and most memorable. For legal reasons, avoid choosing a name that’s already taken. See whether your chosen domain name is available, and create a company logo.
Having the right legal structure is vital. Look into the various options - sole trader, partnership, limited company or LLP - and decide what’s right for you. Register your business name and address with Companies House.
Now is the time to really drill down and focus on the specifics. Your plan should describe your business concept and cover objectives, strategies, sales, marketing and financial forecasts. Don’t forget to include any market and competitor research you’ve done.
- STEVE JOBS
One of the biggest challenges faced by start up businesses. If you don’t have enough capital to start your venture on your own, there are various grants, funding and investment opportunities available.
Research what declarations you’ll need to make to HMRC and any taxes your business will need to pay. Get your business covered with insurance, and any licenses sorted so that you’re legally protected.
There are various organisations on hand to help budding entrepreneurs. Services may include free workshops, training courses and one-to-one support. Your adviser can work with you to refine your business plan and explore different grant and funding avenues.
Your website may be the first interaction a customer has with your business, so you’ll want to make it as easy to navigate and engaging as possible. It’s also worth getting social media profiles, particularly on Facebook and Twitter, and starting a company blog.
Launching your business with a limited-time only offer, leaflet dropping in the local area and contacting journalists are just some of the ways to create brand awareness in the early days. Attending trade shows are also a great way to get your name out there.
- RICHARD BRANSON
Setting up your own business is your chance to run a company that suits you and makes a difference in your chosen field, but it doesn’t have to be a solitary experience. The important thing is that you do something that you enjoy, and that you think is worthwhile.
There are parts of setting up a business that are more enjoyable than others, but the overall journey is a chance for you to set in motion a foundation that will set your business up for long term success. By focusing on providing customers with real value at every stage, you give yourself the best chance to succeed.
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