10 THINGS A NEW START UP SHOULD KNOW
You’re about to start a new business, it’s daunting to say the least. A thousand thoughts will cross your mind, plenty of ‘what ifs’ and even more ‘buts’. It’s ok to think about failure, it’s ok to have doubts. This is what any entrepreneur goes through, the highs and the lows. I started my business at the age of 30, it was a lot later than so many young women I now know, but the experience of working in the corporate world, really helped me set my expectations and I’ve managed to gather some valuable advice.
Starting your own business is a challenging yet rewarding journey and here are 10 things every new start up should know.
1. Love what you do. Running a business is not just about doing the things you ‘think’ you enjoy. It’s about being passionate about what you do. You need to have a fire in your belly to REALLY want to make it work. This is not a hobby that you will drop, and whilst you don’t have to love every aspect of your business and the likely hood is that you probably won’t (accounts, yuck!), but you need to have a real strong desire for it to work. If you want your business to be successful, then you need to put in the work, you need to really love what you do to be able to devote time to it. Is it worth your time? Is it work the sacrifices, is it going to make me happy? Does it excite you? If your answer is “no” to those questions, then you are definitely not ready to dive into a new venture!
2. Make sure you have financial stability. The fact is that we all need money to keep going. Sometimes you forget that starting a new business means ploughing in a lot of cash. You may also not make money from your new business for a while, some new businesses only break even in the first year. Being employed while you’re starting out can often give you the financial stability to make sure that you have money coming in to keep you going whilst you get your business off the ground.
3. Build a good support network. Running a business, especially as a sole trader can be awfully lonely. You’re often working alone, for long hours. This is why having a good solid support network is essential. Successful Superwomen was set up for exactly this reason! You need someone to bounce ideas off, someone who will give you honest advice and someone who will listen. This could be a business bestie, an accountability partner or just a group of entrepreneurs who are available to guide you when you need that support. Finding a mentor or coach in your industry is also another way to make sure you have
experienced guidance from someone who has been through the start up process.
4. Research, Research, Research. You can never do enough research. You need to be the industry expert in your field. You need to research all the pros and the cons, the competitors, the products and the this will be key when you write your business plan. You need to stay ahead in the game, sometimes joining certain affiliations can help keep you informed of any new developments in the industry.
5. PLAN. THE BUSINESS. How many people think starting a business is just getting an online presence, buy the stock and sell it. NOPE! You need a good plan. You need to understand where you want your business to be in the short and long term, to identify key areas of investment and training too. It is vital for any new business to have a business plan that will set out your goals. It is crucial for budgeting, marketing and creating a strategy that works for you and makes your business successful. Your research will help build your business plan, it will help you better understand where you need to invest and how.
6. Start advertising and getting clients. One of the mistakes new businesses make is to wait! Wait till you’ve got the website or the facebook page! The most important thing is attracting your clients and starting to work with them as soon as possible. This goes for running workshops too, if you want to run it, just get your workshop attendees lined up and then decide on the venue, if you know you have the client, that is the most important area. This is also why networking is so important, you can pick up new clients by word of mouth and by networking.
7. Get Social. Social media is vital in growing your business, you are likely to come across potential clients on Facebook and Instagram. One of the key things to do is to grow you following on social media platforms organically, share your tips and advice, go live, share your videos and tutorials. It’s important that you are giving back to your audience the things they want to hear about, remember often you are selling a ‘solution’ – so let people know what you do, why you do it and how. Please do not ‘buy’ likes. There are some amazing social media groups now that you can be a part of and can get business from too. So think about your social media marketing as an important element.
8. You’re not an expert on everything. Just don’t do it. Yes you’ve probably tried doing it already. It’s really easy to try and think we are good at everything, that we can design and create our own branding, design the website ourself, that we can manage our accounts, do our taxes and fill in the VAT forms… just stop. Hire a professional. End of story. you need to invest in your business, you need to value time and expertise. If you need to get some branding done, get a designer to do it. It will be less costly in the long run. It’s also better to get legal business advice from the experts instead of writing your own contracts.
9. It pays to be courteous. Your business is a representation of you. Everything about you and the way you do business needs to convey to others that you are a professional, and that you have the basic knowhow to be kind, considerate and courteous to your clients and to those that contact you but may not be your clients. People are more likely to recommend you if you’re nice, so just be nice and let your business thrive.
10. Community over competition. I’m a massive advocate for this. It is the ethos of my group Successful Superwomen. Don’t get caught up in who is doing what, and how someones pricing differs from yours, or how their branding is better than yours. Remember the grass is always greener on the other side, but instead of having envy, we should just water our grass more! There is enough to go around, your ideal client is out there and will find you. Collaborate with your industry suppliers, work in harmony and share your resources where you can.