If you’re preparing to start a business, there are a few things you should consider before you make the leap.
Starting your own business can be an exciting prospect. You can be your own boss, manage your own time and set your own goals. You’re responsible for your own success and while this can be a satisfying outcome, it can also be a daunting concept.
Start a business – Develop a clear plan
It’s important to develop a financial plan. It can take months for many small businesses to make a profit and for your invoices to be paid, so calculate that you have enough savings to put into your business and to cover your living expenses until you start to make money.
Start a business – Research and network
Sounds obvious, but it’s essential to have a good knowledge of your chosen industry before you start your business. You may have spent years working as an accountant, for example, but you’ve had little exposure to the industry as a small business owner. Research can include valuable insights from other small business owners, so look out for networking opportunities, join online forums or seek out a mentor.
You’ll also need to plan how to attract customers and who your customers will be. Have you identified a niche in a crowded market or will you be competing with many others? And how will you set yourself apart?
Assess your skills by writing a list of your strengths and weaknesses this can help you identify areas where you may require additional training or to work out who you should engage for advice, such as finance professionals, solicitors or marketing and IT consultants.
Start a business – Set your priorities
Some of the four greatest challenges faced by small business owners are:
- not enough money or clients
- feeling overwhelmed because of wearing too many hats in the business
- ineffective time management
- not having the right business model.
With these priorities, one thing often leads to the other. You might be spending too much time working in the business and not enough time working on the business. When you work for someone else, there’s usually another person delivering the strategic decision. When you’re running your business – you’re that person.
Start a business – Define your own success
As a small business owner, you must create your own success. But what does success look like for you? Making a lot of money? Job satisfaction? Striking the right balance between work and home life?
In order to define your success, you’ll need to have a clear picture of what it is you want to get from your business. Think past just earning revenue – where do you want to spend the majority of your time? Where do you want to live? These and other goals you work towards need to established early on to ensure you don’t lose sight of the endgame.