Starting and owning your own business
If you have ever dreamed about starting and owning your own business, it's a really good idea to get good professional advice before you start spending your hard-earned cash.
You will find many websites out there with tips, some slightly useful but usually a bit generic but they are no substitute for seeking proper, professional advice from a local business specialist that you can always get access to whenever you need it. Business advice is bespoke, tailor made and not off the shelf. Being able to talk in a relaxed, friendly way and to work with you throughout the year are essential qualities of your advisor. Your accountant should know more than just that he’s done your tax return, he should be a great asset, not a liability.
As a seasoned entrepreneur, I can tell you that there is no magic formula for starting a successful business. Many small businesses get off the ground themselves, but they don't realise that their business foundations are built on sand. It could be the structure is wrong for them, they've taken staff on with proper employment contracts, their assets aren't adequately protected, their business plan has serious flaws in or is non-existent...the list goes on and on...
So, I've compiled a list of tips for new or fledgling business owners that you may not find on a website or from the bloke down the pub.
1. Being nervous, anxious or plain scared running your own business is normal.
Learn to live with it or go back to the safety net that is employment. Use those nerves as energy to drive your business sales forward.
2. Be unique
Try to have at least 1 USP (unique selling point) about your business. Don't be a clone, being different means you have a better chance of not getting in to a price war with competitors.
3. Value yourself and your business
This is a problem with new business owners that is common. The first sign that business sales aren't coming in and they start doing sales and reducing their prices. Reducing prices = less profit. So what do you do after that if that still doesn't work?? Think of the difference between a second hand car salesman selling crap cars and a Ferrari dealership. The second hand car dealer sells rubbish cars and so has to do every trick in the book to sell his cars, because they are not very good. The Ferrari dealership simply puts his Ferrari in the middle of the showroom and sits back and waits, confident that he has a premium product. What I’m saying is be confident of yourself and your product and don't treat your business like a second hand car. (Unless you actually are a second hand car salesman of course, lol).
4. Do a written business plan
It doesn't have to be War & Peace. You can get BP templates from the web or we can help you write a good one. A good business plan will save you thousands of pounds and may well save your business from failure in the future.
5. Be realistic about your own skill set
Think twice about a cafe' if you can't cook, unless you have deep pockets. Don't open a pub if you like the sauce too much. A business has a much better chance of long-term success if you do something that interests you, you can do yourself or uses your own skills, knowledge etc. & excites you. (Preferably all three).
6. Do a cash flow forecast
Be realistic with your projected monthly income and your monthly expenses. The more realistic, the better. If it doesn't look good at the start then ask questions about your business model and do yourself a survival budget planner e.g. how you will pay yourself a wage, pay business bills etc. Review your cf forecast every month and amend it as you go along to spot looming problems.
7. Don't take unnecessary expenditure on
Don't run before you can walk. Business is a lonely business but that doesn't mean you have to fill your shop or office with staff unless they are paying for themselves. Do you really need them to start off? Really?? Do you need those premises? Can you not start from home to build your business? Will that equipment or that new car you want not wait for 6 months to see if the business works? Spend money on what makes money - marketing & professional advice. (The last one was me if you didn't pick up on that).
8. Be aware of yourself
Strange one I know but we are all human, well most of us. Mood-swings, nerves, anxiety, depression and mental health issues all affect an individual and therefore can affect your business. Being Bi-polar myself means I understand these problems and am always there for anyone who wants to talk and support 24/7. (And you all just thought I was crazy, lol).
9. Have a solid marketing strategy for your business.
If you want the business sales to flow in you have to address this. Invest money in this, especially in the first year. I recently employed the services of a genius firm of web developers and marketing gurus. They provide you with an amazing marketing plan. I was blown away by these guys.
What did I pay? Answer; do you know what, I don't see it as paying anything...I INVESTED IN MY BUSINESS because I want it to be even more successful. They say "if you pay peanuts and you get monkeys" - this is so true. Are you relying on a monkey to make you successful? And give you the lifestyle you want? If you would like to have a chat with the firm that I can't recommend enough then contact me and I will pass on your details. I only ever recommend people who are brilliant at what they do.
10. The best quote you'll ever hear for business
"The biggest mistake a small business can make, is thinking like a small business". It's a quote I came across and its now on both my Torquay and Liverpool offices. Probably the best business tip I've ever found so I’m sharing it with you.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and if anyone either in the UK or US would like to have a chat about their business ideas, plans or their existing business then I'd love to hear from you.