Our guide to starting your own business

Starting your own business

Starting your own business can be a very satisfying achievement but it also means a lot of hard work and dedication, here are our top tips.

Know your own strengths and weaknesses

Before you start do a list of your own strengths and weaknesses. Be honest with yourself – what are you naturally good at and what will you have to work harder on. What new skills will you need to learn to make your business successful, do you need to brush up on your technical skills or other business skills – how comfortable are you with basic accounting for example.

Do you have the vision, drive and persistence to succeed through tough times?

Running a business is a bit like getting on a rollercoaster you know there will be lows as well as highs, are you naturally good in a crisis, do you have good problem solving skills and are you flexible enough to change things quickly if they aren’t working.

Can you motivate yourself?

The biggest difference between working for yourself and working for someone else is that there is no one else to give you a kick up the backside if you aren’t working hard enough. What motivates you? Is it money, the sense of achievement, recognition from others or a better work life balance?  Use this knowledge to make sure you achieve all that you want to.

Have a great idea

You’ll notice this is not our top tip, as you should think about the first three points before you start, the world is full of great ideas by people who haven’t had the necessary skills or motivation to make them a reality.

Evaluate your idea

What makes it different from anything else out there, Not every idea is truly unique (Facebook was launched after Myspace for example) so it’s important to know your unique selling points and work out how you can fit into the market.

Sales and Cash flow

Ask any micro, small or medium size business and they will tell you that sales (revenue) and cash flow are the two most important things to consider when starting a business. How are you going to make money, do you know who your client base is, this sounds obvious but many start-ups have no idea where their revenue is going to come from when they start. Do you have the capital to start the business and maintain it until the revenue starts coming in, most start up owners won’t pay themselves a wage in the early days of their business.

Naming and branding

Once you have come up with your company name search the internet to see where else the name is used, once you are satisfied that your business will not get confused with others register your business with companies house and register any domain names and social media handles you will need.

Write a business plan and set yourself Targets

Where do you see the business going in the first six months, first year, second year, fifth year? Plan for growth but also remember to be flexible as not everything will be in your control. It is also vital to set yourself targets to make sure you are achieving what you want, also remember to evaluate things regularly to see what and where you can improve.

Setting up a business is not for everyone but many entrepreneurs say it is the best thing they have ever done. If you aren’t familiar with the industry you are planning to enter, remember to fully research the sector before you start up your business. Good Luck!