Tips on how to successfully set up a small business.
Starting up your own business can be an exciting but daunting prospect and many people never fulfil a deep-rooted desire to become their own boss for fear of failure and often spend many years in a job they find unfulfilling or stressful, remaining one of the many 'employed' because it feels like a safer option.
It is not good enough to simply have an idea and hope to make a living out of it; sadly 83% of all new start-up businesses fail within the first year and 80% of all new businesses fail in the first 3-5 years.
So here are some tips on what to think about if you have a yearning to be your own boss.
Find out if you have what it takes to be your own boss; use existing and relevant contacts to gain first hand experience as to what it is REALLY like to be self-employed. (Ask for a free copy of my PACE exercise to see if you are suited to self-employment).
Write a business plan. Even if you do not need to secure funding to set up your business, writing even just a basic plan allows you to focus on all aspects of your business idea in a realistic and methodical way.
Make sure you set short, medium and long-term goals and monitor, evaluate and even change as circumstances dictate.
Identify who your ideal customers are so that you 'sell' to the right audience. This will involve market research and will help you to develop your brand and your USP (unique selling point).
Develop relationships with like-minded individuals. Being a sole trader can feel isolating at times and you never know who might be of real benefit to you and your business.
Outsource aspects of your business you do not feel skilled or confident enough to do yourself. For example, IT support, web-design and book-keeping. This will allow you to concentrate on the aspects of your business that you do best.
Remember that you will be on a huge learning curve so aim to look at any mistakes as learning opportunities and move on. Winston Churchill said: 'Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.'
Develop strategies for when it all feels too much - a walk with the dog, a trip to the gym or baking some cakes - you chose to work for yourself so you can choose when to take time out without being a slave to your business!
Finally, never lose sight of why you decided to set up on your own in the first place-enjoy the good times and aim to keep things in perspective.
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