I am often asked, ‘what are your key insights and advice for other entrepreneurs who are considering starting a business?’. Putting pen to paper, here are my top 10 tips for starting a business:
1. Be passionate about what you plan to do in your business, but also make sure it is a sound business idea and that there is a market for your products/services.
2. Do your homework! Talk to potential customers, research your competitors and talk to other small business owners to find out firsthand what it is like running a business – make the transition with your eyes open. As part of your homework, develop a business and marketing plan. Have a clear direction of where you want to go, with keeping in mind that you need to be flexible within this plan and move with changing times and market conditions. As part of your early research, look into domain names, Twitter names, Facebook etc. It is important that you develop an online presence around your business name or key tagline, so this is a vital part of the early business planning process.
3. Be in a position where drawing a regular weekly wage isn’t necessary for your immediate lifestyle and this might involve forward planning of saving to fund your expenses for when first starting out! Transitioning from a corporate paid position to working for yourself where income can be sporadic is a change that you need to be prepared for.
4. Join small business groups – either online or face-to-face networking groups. This is invaluable for when first starting out and you can learn so much from other business owners. Surround yourself with like-minded people who can be part of your network. It can be lonely at first in business and having other small business owners as part of your network can offer you great support.
5. Make sure you have any necessary legal documentation (terms and conditions etc) in place when starting out along with the right insurances.
6. Be protected! Don’t assume that everyone will be like you in business. Even when doing business with people you know or friends, you need to protect your business with proper contracts an T&Cs in place.
7. Talk to your family and close friends about your decision. It is great to have support from loved ones as this is vital when starting out and working on your own. You will frequently need a sounding board.
8.Be prepared – having your own business is not a walk in the park. It is hard work that requires long hours and dedication. It is worth it though as being your own boss and the maker of your own destiny is very satisfying.