We’ve all watched TV shows like The Apprentice and Shark Tank and secretly entertained the thought of owning a business or pitching a new invention, but there’s more to setting up shop on your own than a sharp suit and a slick attitude. The logistics of making any business a success pivot on some essentials that every budding entrepreneur needs to get to grips with, so give some consideration to these five crucial points before striking out on your own.
Know your customer
So you’ve had a great idea, and you think it will make you some money. The problem is, you’re not the customer. One of the first realities of assessing whether your business can make it or not is whether it’s in demand. Do some market research with members of the public. Hit the streets with your prototype, trial selling your product door to door, or hold a paid focus group to get an honest, unabashed opinion. It may cost money and time now, but if it puts the brakes on a misguided investment, you’ll save buckets in the future.
Eye up the competition
Do some research in your locale by running a webcheck on local companies. Who else is selling what you have? If there are other, more established companies in the area who offer the same service, you have to figure out what would distinguish yours – is it price, quality or customer service? Keeping an eye on the competition will also help you keep up to date with any industry innovations or advancements which they might be using to get the edge.
Plan in advance
Writing a business plan will help you assess your goals going into the venture, stick to your priorities and give you some evidence to show to potential investors to illustrate your intent. Some basics to include might be concept, market, sales strategy, communication, and the hard figures, including estimated GP and return on investment.
Get your message out there
You can have the most inspirational invention, events company or dog grooming parlor in the world, but if nobody knows about it, you’re wasting your time. If you can, put aside some money for a marketing and communication budget, or at the very least, make some time to write a basic one-page marketing strategy. In the age of social media, free email marketing and user-friendly web design, it’s easier than ever to take on this role yourself.
Play by the rules
If you’re setting up a company, you have to register it, and consider how you’re going to manage your accounts. You’ll also have to consider listing as a self-employed business owner, declaring all your earnings and paying your own tax.
So, if you think you’ve got what it takes to be an entrepreneur then take your first few steps very carefully, follow this advice and you could be well on your way to success.