Smart Tips for Startups and Small Businesses
Once you have successfully set up your business, the real work starts. It is vital to progress healthily and keep on top of it rather than simply staying still.
It might take a while to start earning a healthy profit and it is important to acknowledge this fact.
Here are some ideas to help you along the way...
There are many options available for you to choose when it comes to funding your new or existing venture. You might choose to use personal funds (which might be the only option for business starters). A risk of losing your personal capital obviously exists if the business does not go as planned.
Other options include:
- Loans from friends and family – tempered by the risk of causing problems in personal relations.
- Bank loans – but again - do your research. There are many variations and schemes open to businesses. This is where a business plan is vital. You might need to sell your idea and sometimes, getting a bank loan can be a challenge.
- Apply for a start-up loan - Government-backed loans (and sometimes grants) appear and disappear with time. Something is generally available at competitive fixed interest rates. These are beneficial, as the successful candidates can sometimes get mentoring and help with a business plan.
- Outside (Angel) Investing – where the angel investors provide investment in your business in exchange for equity (shares). The benefits are both the investment monies coming in being aligned with the risk of the investor losing the money if the business does not go well (leaving your personal finances unscathed).
Finance is one of the most important elements making sure that your business stays alive and kicking. You should draw up a budget and revisit it to ensure it remains fit for purpose. This will help you interpret your sales, costs, and forecast.
Study Your Market
Successful businesses know and understand their own markets – including customer needs and expectations. Research online using all the available tools open to you. Why not do some mystery shopping (if legally permitted of course). Study your competitors to see if they have any advantage over you and, if so, how that can be closed down. This will of course vary for each business, depending on the product or service you are selling but the information you collect will help you shape your business, from pricing to marketing. Find something that makes you stand out.
As previously mentioned, it’s important not to stand still. Why not form a business plan which sets out your objectives – perhaps with a timetable of sorts? Growth should result in increased success. It will very much depend on the type of business you are in but consider new product or service areas and how to attract a wider client base. It always creates an element of excitement when something new is released. Can you launch something seasonal? If you own a café why not launch summer specials or winter delights, as well as catering for Easter, Christmas, and Halloween.
A good business plan is crucial to any business. A great business plan can attract investors for your business, enabling it to really take off. To create a great business plan, follow these steps:
- Use your market study data to backup your idea. This will make it clear what you are selling, who you are selling to and what exactly is your competitive edge over your competitor. Remember, you believe that your business idea will be a success, and in your plan, you are trying to make the investors believe in your idea.
- Have a range of objectives – short/medium/long term. This will show investors about the realistic opportunities and growth that the business can achieve. Tick off milestones as you pass them as this will evidence the direction you are seeking.
Your Customers Are The Soul Of Your Business
Your business is absolutely worthless without your customers. I am not preaching that the customer is always right as that is not always the case but everything you do needs to be customer centric. Keep them happy and grow your base. Customers like to share good and bad experience with others. A good experience is almost like free advertising. A bad experience is great for your competitors. If you are a small business, you might know your customers personally which really magnifies the importance of what you do.
Work And Life Balance
We have covered this area in previous blogs, but no one should underestimate its importance. Struggling on without an appropriate work/life balance simply is not sustainable. Too little play will result in burn out. Too much play will affect productivity and income.
It is so easy for the owner of small businesses to let work consume them so take time out for family, friends, and for yourself. This will preserve and improve all aspects of your health – physical, mental, and emotional.
Running a small business will mean that you will work on multiple levels of your business simultaneously, therefore you will need to develop plans and strategies to deal with the workload.
Ensure You Have The Right Company Brand/Image
Having a strong and relevant brand and/or image is all important. This will bring in the appropriate customer base amongst other benefits. This hinges back to knowing your customers and the market - what is needed and wanted out there? Short names are easier to remember, type (and spell). Try to make logos as unique as possible.
Grow Your Social Media Presence
It is worthwhile devoting sufficient time to increasing your internet and social media presence. Nowadays, if you want to grow your business, you will need a website. By frequently engaging online, you should attract more interest and receive increased leads back to your business. Many social media platforms and popular search engines (like Google) now concentrate on the "local" side of business. This area will be a worthwhile investment of time. Why not encourage feedback on your website and Facebook page? You might consider offering promotions - anything to get more interest. Blogs and regular posts really do help.
The Clever Legal Bits
Upon starting your own business, you need to be aware of the legal bits. Make sure you have researched all the legal requirements, regulations, tax information and any other law that may affect your business.
A quick reminder what Everyday Legal can provide for you
If a new venture is to be incorporated, whether a company, limited partnership (LLP) or a charity, we can assist with the necessary formalities.
2. Constitutional Documents
Regardless of the type of venture we provide relevant founding documents such as partnership agreements or shareholder agreements.
We help new businesses with their Data Protection Registration and Trademark Registrations.
We have a wide selection of policies which are vital for the governance of any business whether a start-up or otherwise.
5. Human Resources
Likewise, we have a wide selection of employment contracts which can be used to properly engage both employees and other types of worker.
6. Trading Contracts
As soon as the new venture starts to trade it is vital to capture these relationships in robust agreements and terms and conditions. We have a wide selection.
7. Contract Review
In the event that the new venture is asked to sign a contract, we can review the document and ensure that it reflects the business’s needs and is safe.
9. Tailor Made Agreements
If you cannot find that desired legal template, or perhaps the subject matter is specialist, we offer a tailor-made service whereby we will write a bespoke contract reflecting your precise requirements.
10th November 2020
When you are looking to get your new business off the ground, the admin of company set-up, trademark protection, data protection and
legal incorporation can be daunting. Making sure you have the right information to hand is important. We can help make sure your
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Saving you time and money
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