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Have you been dreaming of setting up your own business and being your own boss? Making the leap from employed to self-employed can be a daunting prospect, as well as incredibly exciting.
Launching a new small business isn’t all about becoming an overnight success; it is about building something that will stand the test of time. Taking a long term approach and breaking down the individual elements needed to make your business succeed will ensure you take care of everything you need to.
Make a Plan
Making a plan may be the last thing you want to do when you are passionate about getting started and launching your business. However, if you are in it for the long term, it is better to develop a proper business plan, before diving into the unknown.
Pulling together a business plan doesn’t need to be boring, think of it as planning your first steps on your brand new journey. Having a business plan means that you have a tangible document to refer back to when you need it. At times, you will probably feel uncertain about your business and the direction it takes. Having a business plan means that you can monitor your progress, and reconnect with your goals to keep you on the right track.
Start it Small and Simple
Even if you are launching a business in an industry you are familiar with; it is useful to start small. Being in charge of every aspect of a company will feel entirely different from being employed, so giving yourself time to adjust is essential.
Don’t get started on the wrong foot by overextending your finances to fund your new venture. Instead, be realistic about what you can achieve while familiarizing yourself with your new role as a business owner. Putting extra stress on yourself with a sizable financial burden is going to bring considerable pressure onto both you and your fledgling business.
Take your time to establish your business, before committing to large monthly bills, and you will create a much stronger foundation to build it on.
A mistake that many business owners make is to quit their day job and take on a lease for expensive business premises, and a costly work vehicle. Both of these may feel like a great idea, but you may regret it when you are paying for lots of extra space that you aren’t using. A better solution is to let your business premises and equipment expand in line with your business. This steadier approach enables you to adapt to your business’ current needs without a substantial financial burden weighing you down.
Call in the Professionals
When you run a business, there are various practical elements to consider, and lots of paperwork to sort out too. Having the right level of insurance cover for your business is vital. No one knows what the future holds, so being prepared for anything that life throws at you, can give you some added peace of mind. Business insurance experts such as https://www.krywolt.com/ can help you to determine the right level, and type of insurance cover your small business needs.
Managing the financial side of your business so that you pay the correct taxes and keep track of your business expenditure is a must. Hiring an accountant can help you to keep your business finances in order, and gives you one less thing to worry about.
Being busy fulfilling customer orders may mean you don’t have time to stay on top of all the admin that comes with being in charge of a company. Trying to juggle everything yourself can leave you feeling incredibly stressed. The problem many businesses face is needing extra help, but not being able to afford it. Using a virtual assistant service means that you get the benefits of someone helping with your workload, without the need to recruit an employee. Typically, virtual assistants are paid by the hour. As they are not your employee, there is no need to worry about extra costs such as holiday pay, or pension contributions.
There are specialist virtual assistants available that can bring expert knowledge to your business, such as marketing, PR, and specific IT skills. Other virtual assistants are admin whizzes that will sort out your inbox, arrange your business travel, and answer the phone for you.
Outsourcing some aspects of your work to a virtual assistant can help you to free up some time and focus on other parts of your business.
Build a Brand
One thing to bear in mind when launching your company is that you are building a brand. Your brand may not seem like an important consideration at the moment when your business is only just launching. However, now is the perfect time to start working on your brand. Building up brand recognition to create a strong brand identity takes time, so the earlier you get started, the better.
Creating a brand from scratch may seem like a daunting prospect, but it is not as complicated as it sounds. To get started, think about your brand identity, what do you want your business to stand for, and where will you position yourself in the market? Will your products represent good value, or will you be a luxury brand? Think about your unique selling proposition and how you will differentiate your brand from competing brands.
Once you have decided on your brand values and market position, you can begin thinking about the visual elements of your brand, such as your logo.
Marketing Your Business
Very few new small businesses have a big advertising budget if any budget at all. Don’t worry if you don’t have the spare money for paid for advertising; there are plenty of other ways to get your business noticed.
Regardless of your marketing budget, having a marketing plan is a good idea. Your marketing plan will help you to establish what you need to achieve from your marketing efforts. Make sure that you set SMART goals for marketing objectives. This will give you the opportunity to measure your marketing goals and see what can be improved for the future. Your marketing priorities are likely to change over time, but for the first year of trading are likely to be focused on raising brand awareness.
Don’t forget to check out how your competitor’s market themselves. This will help you to make sure that you differentiate your brand from theirs, and don’t get lost in the crowd.
Think your business is too small to need a website? Think again! All companies nowadays need an online presence. You don’t need to spend thousands on a website, but it does need to be well-designed and professional. Having a website is essential, but having a bad website is worse than no website at all. Many customers make the internet their first port of call when researching a product or service. This means that your website will form their first impression of your company, so you want to get it right. People that research products online are likely also to check out your competitors too, so you will need to make your business stands out for the right reasons. Make sure that the content on your website is relevant, meaningful, and useful for visitors. Your content should be written in a tone of voice which reflects your brand personality. Doing this will ensure that your website accurately reflects your business and what it represents.
Don’t forget to use social media to heighten your online presence. Whether you love social media or hate it, it is a useful tool to connect with people when used in the right way. Using social media to promote your business can be a time-consuming process, so it is best to plan a strategy as part of your marketing plan. Consider who your target market is and then think about which social media platforms they would use the most. As with your website, make sure that the content you post is relevant and useful, and crucially, is written in a tone of voice in keeping with your brand’s personality.
Assess and Refine
Once your business is up and running, you will probably find yourself rushed off your feet, while you are busy establishing yourself. Amid the busyness of the day to day running of your company, it is useful to stop and assess your progress now and then.
Assessing your business reasonably regularly means that you can refer back to your business plan to see how you are performing against it. This will enable you to make adjustments to the running of your company as and when needed.
Assessing your progress means examining lots of results. This includes feedback from customers, how much money you are making versus running costs, and how much footfall you are receiving. Examining and comparing this combination of data over time should help you to gain a firm understanding of your business, and how you can steer it to even greater success in the future.