The Journey to Starting Your Own Business

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.

Experian

The journey to starting your own business

start

quote

"If you can dream it you can do it"

- WALT DISNEY

Research your idea

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.

Create a brand identity

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.

Choose your structure

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.

Write a business plan

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.

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“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance”

- STEVE JOBS

Get your finances in order

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.

Sort out the ‘boring’ stuff

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.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

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.

Design your website

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.

Devise a marketing strategy

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.

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“If you spot an opportunity and are really excited by it, throw yourself into it with everything you’ve got”

- RICHARD BRANSON

Plan ahead to the future

Congratulations on starting your own business! As your company continues to grow, you’ll probably want to start thinking about taking on your first member of staff (or outsourcing certain services), and moving into your own physical premises if you haven’t already.

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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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