I work for the best company ever. I know this might be a personal opinion and considering that I founded the company it’s not even an objective statement.
Starting a business is a great adventure! It might not be for everybody, but a lot of people who think ‘this is not for me’ have the potential to do it.
The digital revolution has brought us many opportunities that we all should take advantage of. Today you can start a business from your kitchen table thanks to the many tools that the internet has to offer. You might think marketing is for experts and mega expensive… It’s time to change our mindset!
If there was a time to start a new business, that time is now. All you need is a business idea, the will to succeed and a kitchen table.
Are you up for the challenge? Let’s get cracking!
Let’s assume that you already have a business idea. There are some interesting books that can inspire you. One of our favourites is ‘Start with Why’ by Simon Sinek.
1. Do your market research
And by that, I don’t mean asking your friends. It’s very important to test your idea and make sure that there are enough customers prepared to pay for product or services.
The way to get around this is identifying your target market. How do those people look, how old are they? Is your offer gender-specific? Once you know who you need to talk to, go and do it. You can do focus groups or surveys. In some cases, it is a good to create a prototype to take with you. The key thing is to find the cheapest way to test your idea with the people who are prepared to pay for it.
What you need to know at the end of this research is how much are people is willing to pay? If someone else offers the same product, how can you make it better? And above all, would you make enough money for a return on your investment?
Don’t worry if the first research comes out negative, that’s what tests are for: to address problems before they even occur.
For an interesting visual tool which can help you to put all your ideas together in one place, check out the Value Proposition Canvas.
2. Plan your business
It’s important to understand how you will run your business, to plan how and how much money you will spend and to try to predict how much money you will make. There are a few tools to create a business plan. It will depend on the nature of your business. These business plans are a must-have if you need to get investors on board. We recommend having a look at the conventional business plan. There are a couple of tools we’d like to highlight, Sequoia Capital Framework and Lean Canvas. Both are great, especially for start-ups. It’s all a bit boring but it’s good to have one and revise it periodically.
3. Consider partnership and suppliers
Sometimes going on a backpacking trip is scary, but with friends it’s fun and it helps to get each other motivated. So consider looking for a business partner. Most businesses start small as sole-traders and grow from there.
Another consideration is about suppliers: if you need a manufacturer to create your product make sure you build a good relationship with them and you have a backup plan, for example, a list of other suppliers who can help if the one you choose goes into administration.
4. Get legal!
This step is when everything gets real. You need to register yourself as a sole trader or as a company. And to make sure you register for tax payment. We got the help of an accountant from pretty much day one. We may be good at what we do but not at the tax return!
5. Brand your business
It’s important that your business looks professional and trustworthy. The way you do that is through your brand, this is an expense most businesses neglect, but in the long term, it’s worth it. You can always start small and grow as your business grows. It might be worth spending a few hundred pounds on a logo that represents your business and that you can plug into a WordPress template or on your invoices. It is also important to think what will be your brand’s personality.
For further reading on branding, have a look at these articles:
Why is branding important for small businesses
10 keywords that will help to get your brand right
6. Let the world know you exist
Right! You are now ready to roll… You only need customers to come in and support your business. It’s difficult to give a generic advice because each business has its own nature, a physical shop is not the same as an online consultancy. Our advice is to find where your potential clients are and let them know that you are open for business. Broadcast on your social media, so your friends and colleagues can also share the news. Businesses that work with other businesses should explore networking on meetups. Another idea suitable for most businesses is inbound marketing because it is cheap and quite successful.
7. Keep your customers
For most companies it’s cheaper to retain a customer than to acquire one. Make sure you follow it through after you have closed a sale. Ask customers for feedback and to recommend you. Remind them you exist by saying ‘Happy birthday!’ or ‘Merry Christmas!’. Just don’t finish your relationship with one sale.
We hope this post encourages everyone to follow their ideas and to create exciting businesses. If you thought it was useful please share it and if you have something to add we’d also love to hear it in the comments below.