STEP 1: KNOW YOUR FINANCES
The first step to becoming your own boss is to look into your finances. Is this something you can afford to do full time and leave your current job? How much does your company have to make to cover your expenses and keep the business operating? Is this something you will start off part-time and build up to full time? Knowing your figures will help you make these decision and tell you if and when your business will be financially viable.
Money is necessary for starting your business and to keep it going until your customers pay you. You will need to cover your personal expenses until the business can support you.
There are many different funding options for start-ups. Creative thinking and planning your cashflow might save you money and make it less costly than you may think to start your own business.
STEP 2: BE HARSH ON YOURSELF
Running and operating your own business is not always about having the money to do it. It takes a certain character. Do you easily upset, panic and crack under pressure? Being your own boss can be hard it takes a strong head and tough skin.
Do you have a personal support system you can rely on and a business minded person to bounce your ideas off? Remember it will be just you for a while. People often don’t realise how lonely having your own business can be, and having a good family and friendship support system can make a difference.
Are you organised and able to spin a lot of plates at once? If this is a no, then maybe running your own business isn’t for you. You will need to be head of HR, Marketing, IT, Finance, Manufacturing, Customer Service and more.
STEP 3: FIND YOUR NICHE
If you’re thinking about starting a business you will most likely have an idea of what you are going to do. Great, but you need to be specific. You’re going to be a business consultant—but what do you specialise in? You’re going to start a clothing line—but what makes you different from the rest? Finding your niche from the outset will make planning further down the line easier.
STEP 4: START YOUR BUSINESS PLAN
Even if it’s just a shoestring idea, you’ll need a plan. You might start testing your designs, or selling your services a little but having a plan in place will help control your spend and keep things on track, especially if your idea takes off rapidly. Be sure to allow room for flexibility—you may not know the price of things yet but having a budget in mind will help control costs and quicken future decision making.
STEP 5: PRE START
There are lots of things to think about before you start trading. Location, Logistics, Set Up, Insurance and more. Its best to have all of these factors in place before you sell any products or services.
STEP 6: GET ORGANISED
Many business owners become overwhelmed when they first start trading. This can be overcome by being organised. A calendar of what you’re going to do and when can be helpful. When are you going to submit your accounts, create a marketing plan, pay wages (if applicable), pull sales reports? etc…
STEP 7: FINDING AND RETAINING CUSTOMERS
When you start trading— understanding who your customers are, where you’ll find them and understanding why they would buy from you is crucial.
Carrying out market research and creating a sales and marketing plan will help you to develop strategies to gain new customers and keep them.
Starting up your own business could be the best career move you ever make. If you want to make your business dream a reality, but don’t quite know where to start, we can help.
Business Gateway Stirling offers the information, advice, workshops and online tools you’ll need to help set up your business with confidence. So if you’re thinking about starting a business, visit planningtostart.com answer a few questions about your plan and we will be in touch with FREE help and advice.