Every year, thousands of people seek to become entrepreneurs but starting your own business can be incredibly daunting. It is a long process that involves careful financial planning, a lot of networking and a great deal of determination but if you get it right, you could be well on your way to establishing a thriving business. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of ten things that you’re certainly going to need to get things off the ground.
- A structured business plan
When it comes to achieving anything of great substance, careful planning is absolutely necessary. The key aim of your business plan will be to set out a strategy and an action plan that will cover the next five years, detailing your aims and objectives over the course of this time and how you plan to achieve them. It doesn’t matter what your business is, your plan should be concise yet detailed, realistic and most importantly, professional.
- Business insurance
Every company, no matter how small, needs to purchase business insurance to ensure that they’re appropriately covered. There are several different types of business insurance some of which include professional liability insurance, general liability insurance and if you’re hiring employees, it is essential for you to have worker’s compensation insurance in place too. You should also make sure that you protect your intellectual property, including anything from technological ideas to a simple company logo.
- The relevant licences and permits
Starting a new business is exciting, so it’s often easy to lose track of some of the relevant licenses and permits you need in place. Of course, this can all depend on the type of business that you’re establishing, but if you’re UK based, a full list of business licenses can be found on the Gov.uk website.
- Trained staff
Your employees will be the backbone of your business, so it’s important that you hire a team of staff that are well-trained and knowledgeable about your product or service. Not only should you hire people who have the desired skills and experience you’re looking for but a team that is dedicated and enthusiastic about what you do.
- Market research
Conducting market research will help you to identify opportunities, reduce potential risks and make better decisions overall about the running of your business. Any business owner should know who their target customers are and what will influence their purchasing behaviour but also who you are competing against, what they offer and how (or when) the market might change.
- Financing options
The question of how you’re going to finance your new business is probably at the forefront of your mind, and that’s good because it is an important factor to consider. Most new business owners choose to finance through a bank loan, but there are other ways you can do this such as crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending or, in appropriate instances, equity investment.
- Branding and marketing
You’re probably already aware that the correct branding and marketing is essential for the success of your business but do you know how to achieve them? Essentially, your brand is the identity of your business, and this will drive long-term relationships with your customers. A unique brand and good marketing will keep your company at the forefront of their minds, making it more likely that they’ll return to you time and time again. Before you commit to a name for your business, make sure it is available as a domain name for your website.
- Business premises
Until you’re certain that your business will thrive, buying a physical office space can be a huge commitment so it may be a better idea to look into renting somewhere in the meantime. Remember, your business premises don’t have to be a physical space. Thanks to technological advancements, it’s now possible to run your entire business from a virtual office, so you’ll save money on buying or renting an actual office space.
- An online presence
According to a report by Google, 97% of people will use the internet to search for a local business meaning that nearly all of customers are now online. This means that an online presence for your business is now more important than ever to allow your business to reach the dizzying heights it deserves. To do this, set up a website, establish search engine optimisation (SEO) and engage your customers through social media.
It may sound like a cliché but no matter who you are, all new business owners will need strong determination in order to succeed. Starting and running a business is incredibly hard work, and unless you’re incredibly lucky, it’s likely that you’ll encounter some hurdles along the way. It is only with a strong will and determination that you will be able to complete the steps we’ve already outlined and start growing your business from a start-up to an empire.
Please bear in mind that this is not a comprehensive list of everything you’ll definitely need to get your business up and running but our top ten list is certainly a start. Good luck!