No matter how good the product or service being offered, the success of a business often comes down to its structure, cash flow, funds, staff and marketing. Here’s a checklist of things you need to do once you have decided to take the plunge to join Britain’s amazing ranks of entrepreneurs.
1 Seek help
Even well established businesses find it helps to have a sounding board for new ideas so don’t be afraid to seek out advice or support or to find out how others have solved or are managing similar challenges. The Business Growth Service is just one such organisation with a wealth of information and guidance for those starting out.
2 The structure
The options to choose from are a limited company, a limited liability partnership (LLP), a traditional partnership or a sole trader. The first two offer greater personal protection but there is no right option – it will depend on your circumstances and particular needs, so do some research in order to see what will work best for you.
3 You already have the tools you need
Most homes and most students are already equipped with quite a lot of the tools any business needs to reach a worldwide audience from day one. Computer power is so cheap that many schools or university leavers have their own machines, with processing power unimaginable a few years ago. Laptops can edit sound or movies, design software, and keep track of all the details of a start-up business at minimal cost. Internet connectivity allows a start-up entrepreneur to collaborate with video conferencing at almost no cost, an extraordinary breakthrough. The internet also enables a new business to reach a specific, even worldwide marketplace with a minimal outlay.
4 The market
Image is an important part of any marketing activity, but you first need to establish your market. Test the idea and test the market. You first need to define your boundaries and start to write the business plan. This will be essential if you are seeking funding and to keep you on track with your plans for growth.
This all costs money and there are many issues to consider when it comes to funding, such as how much equity you want, and whether you will offer your own personal assets as security. There are funding options such as grants, loans, banks, investors and crowdfunding. Consider which is right for your business in its current stage of growth.