Starting your own business is as equally terrifying as it is exciting. The ‘unknown’ is one thing… It has a degree of mystery and glamour around it. However, not being able to pay your rent, working long hours and possibly feeling isolated, isn’t glamorous. That may seem like a gloomy perspective, but many businesses take a while to get off the ground, so preparing and protecting yourself is key.
Before taking the plunge, consider this quick checklist:
Setting aside time to formally plan your endeavour has many benefits. By actively documenting your plans, you’ll see where potential risks or weaknesses lie, in addition to seeing opportunities that you may not have thought of. It will identify areas where you may need professional support, which is essential for informing your budget. A formal business plan also gives you credibility if you’re seeking funding from third parties. A key part of your plan should also include goals – big goals, but also baby milestones. As you start your business, you may not notice the progress you’re making, these little milestones are a great reminder to reward yourself and stay motivated!
- Minimise Investment and/or Overheads
The financial outlay for new business owners can be significant. Many expenses are necessary and you need to pursue your plans wholeheartedly to give them the best chance of success. However, don’t forget the component of your business that is crucial for survival – profit. Maximising cashflow and minimising overheads is key to a secure financial position. We can’t give you definitive answers on what’s a wise spend – but just consider things such as, Do you need to lease a space immediately or can you work from home or in shared environment? Do you need printed marketing materials that could become redundant due to small changes in your early stages of business or would editable digital avenues suffice?
- Find a Mentor
Having someone that’s done this before will be invaluable to you. It may be a successful business owner (or an unsuccessful business owner!), an entrepreneur that’s a few years in or a consultant that’s advised new businesses. Having someone that you can listen to and learn from and having someone that can listen to you and provide a different perspective is really important. You don’t need to go it alone.
- Build a Community
Even if you are essentially working alone, the people that surround you will be crucial to your success. The community surrounding yourself and your business will provide support, advice, professional services and business! Remember that this is all about building relationships that are mutually beneficially. Nurture your community and it will grow around and with your business. Not quite sure where to start? Your family, friends and peers at uni are a great start. Then think service providers – your accountant, printer or designer. And industry bodies – professional associations, small business support groups, collaborative work spaces…
Not quite ready to start your own business? Check out our previous post for a broader look at ‘entrepreneurship.’