The decision to start your own business is as exciting as it is scary. Some people are just not made to work for others and if the urge to go it alone takes over then one day you will have to do it. There’s never a perfect time to do it, many businesses were set up during the recent economic downturn and therefore only know a tough market. Those that planned well and worked hard, have survived and thrived.
The concept of your business should be based around something you are passionate about that uses your knowledge and experience rather than just a project to make money. The effort, hard work, determination and dedication you will have to put into your new business means that if you are working on an idea that doesn’t move you then you will be tempted to give up. New entrepreneurs often say that they have never worked harder than when running their own business.
Karen James Founder and Director of Lilac James says ‘After working for many years in the corporate world, I knew the time was right to follow my dream and start my own business. I used to work hard though nothing compares to the hours I have spent working on my own business. It’s different though as you become so passionate about what you do, it doesn’t seem like work. Developing ideas in the evening or on a Saturday is not a problem, you become so driven and excited to see growth and success, that it’s hard to stop!’
The Work Space
You will probably already have most of the tools necessary to get you started. Often it makes good economic sense to start your business from home so you will already have power, a laptop or PC and internet connection so in a sense you’re almost set. Next, you will need to dedicate a space that you can call ‘the office’. There can be many distractions when working from home so you need to ensure that you have a space, however small, where you can work undisturbed, store all your paperwork and take calls. Don’t be concerned about what to do if you need to meet a client. You can either go to their office or meet in a hotel or if you really need to make an impression, you could hire a meeting space. You can often hire meeting rooms by the hour so it needn’t cost a great deal.
The Business Plan
It’s quite simple, planning is key to success. Research has shown one of the main explanations that businesses fail is inadequate planning. If you want to start a business you must have a business plan. It will help you present your idea to banks and investors and will help keep you moving in the right direction. A business plan should include your mission statement, executive summary, knowledge of your target market, marketing plan, competitor analysis and financial projections.
Once your business is up and running you should never rest on your laurels. As the two year marker can often mean the end of a start-up, you need to keep your eye on the ball. Keep ahead of your competitors, watch their actions and note their successes. Keep abreast of your industry. Know what’s happening, who’s doing what and how you can take advantage of the latest innovations. This will require you to remain adaptable. Being flexible and reacting to an every changing market place often is the difference between one business flourishing and another faltering. Constant appraisal of your products, services and customer relations will keep your business fresh and working to the optimum.