There are many reasons why people decide to set up their own business. Perhaps they have been hit by a recession, are tired of working for somebody else, or have a brilliant idea that they think will generate income. For many people, working for themselves will earn greater freedom and flexibility in working hours, allowing them to fit it around their lifestyle. However, setting up a business can be a risky venture, so it is important to think carefully before venturing out to do so. It should also be something they are passionate about, giving them the drive to get up each day and make it work.
If you are considering setting up your own business, these are some of the stages you will need to go through.
You may have come up with a brilliant idea, but you need to figure out who your competitors are. Research your business idea, go online and look at similar companies. Find out how they operate, and if they are not direct competitors, perhaps seek their advice.
Consider if there is a market for your idea. Maybe you are looking to sell something online. How many other people are doing the same? Do you think you can make a profit by competing with them? Perhaps you are looking to set up a coffee shop on your local high street. Take a walk and count the number of similar businesses out there. Consider how you will make your coffee shop unique to theirs.
Think of something that will be lasting. If you are basing your business idea on repairing the latest computers, remember that technology is always changing, so you will need to be able to stay relevant for your business to last.
As a consumer yourself, you may have an understanding of an area in the market that is not currently being covered. Find an original idea, and provided there is demand for what you are selling, you may be guaranteed some success.
Make it real
You are going to need to legalize your business, take out insurance and apply for any permits you need for what you are doing. You need to declare your income and pay your taxes, so seek the help of an accountant if this scares you. For advice on the permits you need, acquire the help of a business lawyer.
Think of a name for your business. Try to opt for something catchy, and remember to check that you are not duplicating a name somebody else has used as you may get caught up in a legal battle.
Start to formulate a business plan, your roadmap for the months and years ahead. For example, note down an overview of what your business is about, the service you will be offering, the expected demographic you will be targeting and expected costs along the way. Your plan doesn't have to be rigid, so be flexible and make any changes you need too along the way.
How much money will you need to begin your business? Unless you have saved up enough money for the initial investment, you may need to look for people to invest in your idea, take out a low-interest credit card, or take out a bank loan. Remember to have that business plan ready, as banks and investors are going to need to see evidence you have a thoroughly drawn out plan.
After careful planning, you will be at a point when your business is almost ready to launch. There are some things to consider.
If you are working from home, you will probably need a computer to organize sales, and equipment specific to your idea. If you are renting out an office space or setting up a shop, you should have a phone installed to take customer queries.
If you are running a shop, most people will be paying with plastic, so opt for a low rate credit card processing facility. You will probably need to hire staff, so consider how much you can pay them.
The location of your store is important, be that physical or online, so ensure people can find you. Advertise through stationary, business cards and social media. Whether you are selling from a shop or your website, make it an attractive place to visit.
Don't worry if you make mistakes along the way. Life is trial and error and running your business is just the same. Enlist the support of family and friends, take a deep breath and go for it!