Considering taking the first steps to setting up your own business. This a great idea and, believe it or not, you’re far from alone. This year has been a huge year for new startups. Following the pandemic that has dominated most of our lives over the past couple of years, countless people are up for a new start that provides them with more control over their own lives. Whether you’re considering setting up a business because you lost your previous job through company collapse or redundancy, spent enough time away from work to realise you want a significant change, came up with a great idea for a product or service that you think will sell or simply want more control over how you make and manage your finances, becoming your own boss – and eventually other people’s boss – can provide you with a lot of opportunity, freedom and financial security. But where do you actually start out on this journey? Here are some suggestions.
Let’s start out with market research. Sure, you may have a good idea for a product or service, but many great products and services still fail due to a lack of market research. This is a process that allows you to present your ideas to your target demographic and determine whether you should go ahead with your venture. Actually speaking to the people you think will buy your product or service can give you valuable insight into whether it will be a success or not. You can discuss everything from the product itself to its price, where it will be sold, how it will be packaged and so much more. You might get the go ahead or you might find that you need to change some elements of what you’re doing before going ahead. You may find that your product actually interests a different demographic and will need to be priced or sold differently. You may find that your pricing is off and that the product isn’t actually profitable for the price that people would be willing to pay. You might find that some of the design needs to change, marketing needs to change and more. This is such a valuable tool, so make sure to use it.
You’re going to have to bring your product to life if you’re selling a product and this involves manufacturing. Now, the vast majority of startups find that outsourcing their manufacturing is the best approach to go with. This is because it saves you spending a lot of money on expensive machinery, staff, warehouses or factories and other costly outgoings when you’re not even sure if the product will sell. As time goes on, and it becomes clear that there is ongoing demand for your product, you may then want to invest in bringing this process in house, cutting out the third party profit margin and keeping costs lower for yourself.
While you can generally get on with a lot of areas of your business’ operations independently at the start of your venture, you’ll really find yourself struggling to keep up with demand and progression when you start getting orders and customer queries in. This is generally the point that most business owners will reach out for staff. Sure, you can outsource bits and bobs here and there to begin with, but in the long run, you will need ongoing and permanent support. Plus, this gives you the benefit of a fully committed team who spend all of their working time familiarising themselves with your company and benefiting your company. Now, the easiest way to find full time or part time employees is to use a recruitment agency. They’ll be able to advertise the role, find candidates, whittle down the options to meet your needs and pass them over to you for interviewing and final decisions to be made.
Running a business is about so much more than simply designing and selling products. You’re going to have to keep the cogs turning through fay to day operations too. You need to make sure that staff are being managed properly. You need to make sure health and safety protocol is in place and being followed. You need to make sure that commercial spaces are being cleaned – from regular cleaning to used cooking oil disposal services if you run kitchens or other hospitality based spaces. You need to make sure that customer service is in full swing. The list goes on. Generally, the best way to keep this ticking over is to use a consultant to see how your business should be running and to then implement a good management system within the staff of your business.
Whether you run a brick and mortar business or a completely Ecommerce based store, a website is going to be an extremely important tool for your business. Having an online presence is essential for almost every brand nowadays and it’s something you’re going to need to engage with if you want to maximise your business’ success. Whether you want to sell your products or services online, or whether you simply want to give people easy access to more information about your tangible business, its location, its opening hours, its contact details and more, a website is the tool that will ultimately allow you to do this. Of course, few of us could really make a good quality website ourselves. You’re going to need some help and this is the point to turn to freelancers, agencies and other professionals who can complete one off projects for a set cost. A web designer and developer will be able to create the actual website you want. A copywriter can write your product descriptions and other written information. A graphic designer can create a logo, banners and more. A product photographer can create images of your products.
Of course, we haven’t covered every element of running your own business. You’re going to find that you face new areas of focus and different challenges each and every day that you operate. But hopefully, some of the advice outlined above will help you to get up and running and will encourage things to get off to a good start.
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