Looking to start a new business in 2019? We’ve put together some tips and advice that we hope will give you some good insight into what it takes to become a really successful entrepreneur.
Whether you’ve got a business idea already or not, this blog is for you. Read on as we cover everything from creating that first kernel of an idea, right the way through to business plans, funding and the legal details.
Tips for starting a business
Creating an idea you can get behind:
Right from the off, there’s not much point throwing your energy behind an idea you don’t like or believe in. If you’re starting a business, you may discover you're working long days and weekends as standard. That might sound like a bore... but honestly, when you have the right business idea for you, working on making it happen is so exciting that those extra hours fly by!
If you don’t have an idea yet, don’t let that put you off. There are plenty of tried-and-tested techniques to help to brainstorm new business ideas. Just be mindful that it may take some time and plenty of bad ideas before finding something that really sticks.
Just remember, if your idea doesn’t excite you, ask yourself how are you going to put in the effort that it’ll take just to get your business up and running, let alone make it a success?
We know it sounds obvious, but make sure you’re passionate about your idea and it’s something you’re going to be good at. For example, if you’ve never been to a gig or picked up an instrument, trying and build an app to teach the bassoon might not be the business venture for you!
But that being said, there’s no single formula that dictates what combination of idea and entrepreneur will be a success and what will fail. So if you’ve got the right idea – and the transferable skills – don’t be afraid to break new ground in unfamiliar terrain.
Is your business idea a good one? Testing yourself and your business.
Once you’ve got an idea you love and some of the skills to help realise it, it’s time to validate and question every aspect of it to help increase the likelihood of making it a success.
To help you, we’ve put together the following infographic that you can use to stress test your business concept and help firm up some of the details in your mind, as well as help you to think about some other things some entrepreneurs have struggled with.
Putting your business plan together
Once you’re able to answer all the questions in the infographic above, you should be able to start committing some of these thoughts to paper and begin to assemble your business plan.
Rather than starting with your original idea and following the myriad threads that may lead from that, we suggest starting at the end of the process i.e. a happy client or customer and working back to your original idea from there.
Along the way, you should look out how you were able to deliver your product to the customer from delivery, payment and sales, to marketing, suppliers, staff and so on.
This is known as the 'reverse timeline' method, so-called because you have to imagine all the steps in reverse chronological order, from your customer receiving their order to where you are now.
Take your time and don’t leave out any details, no matter how small they may seem. For example – envisage where you may need help at each juncture and whether that would have to come from potential employees, business partners (i.e. suppliers or distributors) or even publicly run services.
What kind of extra help you need and what effort or resources will have to go into building and maintaining each of these different types of relationships will need to be included in your business plan.
You’ll also need to consider the risks, costs and timescales associated with each stage. Essentially, you’re trying to find out how you can make each step as successful as it can be.
It’s ok if you don’t have the answers right now, but considering these steps early on will be a big help when you start to put your business plan together.
And once you’re ready to start drafting, especially if you're keen to find some investors (more on that in our next tip topic), check out our guide: What to include in your business plan.
Assuming you’ve drafted your business plan and touted it amongst some friendly but honest people within your network – amendments and polishes made, it’s time to try and get some funding.
While plenty of small businesses can get their earliest capital injection from trusting and enthusiastic friends and family, that’s not something everyone can rely on.
Your options will depend on a lot of factors – such as what stage of funding your business is at or how fully formed your products or services are. The kind of connections you have within your network, your experience within your chosen industry and whether you’ve run a business before will also play a part.
The answers to the above will help steer you towards what source of funding (or combination of sources) may be best suited to your new business. Not to mention, different methods of funding will have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Some investors simply won’t be a viable target for very new businesses or first-time founders and almost all will apply terms and conditions to their investment. For example, handing over some of your precious equity or ceding some control that may prevent you from running your business exactly as you see fit.
Doing your legals...
Once you’ve typed up your business plan and you’re on the hunt for some investors, it’s probably the right time to make some things official.
By thinking about these areas now you can rest a little bit easier, knowing that you’ll be in a much stronger position further down the line. Not to mention, giving yourself some vital protection in case anything goes wrong.
Farillio has got you covered, our easy-to-understand guides written with our expect legal partners cover everything you need to make the right decisions when setting up your business.
If you’ve got a name, logo or another potential trade mark for your business, see our guides to registering a trade mark and protecting your IP.
To help you find the right legal structure for your business, see our guides to helping you choose the right business model for your business and some alternative business models you may also be considering.
We’ve also put together this superguide to setting up a limited company for setting up a limited company, that not only teaches you step-by-step how to set up your limited company, but it also shares how you can look after it once it's registered too! And don't worry – if you’re daunted by your unavoidable obligations to the HMRC, see our guide to tax for startups and SMEs
And finally, no business can get by without one for long... your business bank account. How to choose the right account for your business is discussed in our guide to business banking for startups.
Building a business is as much about having a great idea as it is about getting the right pieces grouped and working together.
While there will always be events outside of your control, and these unseen forces will sometimes lay waste to your best laid plans - how your business takes shape around your ideas is up to you.
For more expert tips and advice for starting a business, sign in or sign up to Farillio and browse our huge library of guidance, tutorials, templates and more!