So if you do get bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, and a significant investment from Sir Alan is unlikely to be forthcoming, then here are five things you will need to consider.
To avoid becoming another statistic, nearly half of start-up firms fold within their first two years of existence, you need to initiate your plan of action well in advance. With your business plan and funding in place, it’s important to ensure your product or services, premises, marketing and online presence are just as well thought out and planned for.
Whether you are selling a product or your services, you should always keep a careful eye on affordability and budget. As a new business, your funding will determine what you can and can’t do. Shop around and always keep active in sourcing the best deals.
Build good working relationships with suppliers and don’t be afraid to let them know you’re a new business looking for introductory discounts. If you have a service, consider offering special prices for a limited time to increase business. But don’t undervalue yourself or your product. Keep it affordable and try to build a rapport early on with keen customers and suppliers.
Make your mark
We live in a media rich society so it’s important that you source the most effective and affordable platform to advertise in. Most new businesses make it their priority to have an online presence and website as soon as possible. This can be inexpensive, highly profitable and quick to build and go live on the internet. In the first instance you can consider using a free and simple website building package that you can download from the internet to create your own site.
If you are offering a product, this is likely to be your most successful platform to communicate your business, build awareness and get your business message and product out to a national and international market. When considering your website, try to keep your brand and product message clear, the site small and navigation easy. Remember, your marketing and advertising muscle doesn’t need to stop there.
Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter offer a quick way to build a following and awareness, as long as you use it to properly engage with your potential audience and not just broadcast your message. Depending on your type of business, also consider advertising in trade magazines, local newspapers and radio. This can be inexpensive and also allows you to communicate with a specific audience.
Many new entrepreneurs with new start-ups attempt to run all areas of their business, from making the tea and running office errands, to meeting new clients and sealing the next deal. You have to strike a balance between what you can do with the help you need to do it. In the first few months of a new business, you should always consider testing the water and going it alone.
This will give you a great understanding of how to run a business but it will also put you in the best position to judge whether you actually need extra help. Most importantly, it will keep your spend to a minimum. But never be afraid to ask for help from friends or family. They may be exactly the source of assistance you need.
If you consider employing staff, you should always be fully aware of the laws and regulations that apply, including anti-discrimination legislation, the minimum wage, National Insurance payments and maternity and paternity leave.
In the current economic climate, staying in control of your sales and costs will be the difference between success and failure. Many people still find it hard to borrow money from banks so this puts extra emphasis on just how in control you need to be.
If you are comfortable and knowledgeable with figures, organise and maintain your own books. But don’t be afraid to ask for expertise in this field. Good advice and guidance when it comes to money and figures is gold.
Use common sense to work the most affordable budget plan into your business plan. Always think smartly with money and where required take calculated risks on what you can and can’t afford.