There are a number of things to consider if you’re thinking of starting your own business. A good place to start would be finding answers to the following questions:
Why? … What? … Who? … When? … Where? … and How?
Why are you making the move to work for yourself?
Perhaps you’ve always dreamed being self employed or you maybe you’re facing redundancy from your current job. Whatever the reason, think clearly about why you’re making the leap. It doesn’t always come down to money, although it is a big factor to consider. It might be because you want more freedom or more responsibility. You may be thinking of turning a hobby into a business or looking for a different lifestyle. In the early days, working for yourself can mean long, unsociable hours and a low income. It’s important to have a very clear idea of why you’re doing it and what you want to achieve. Work out how much you’ll need to live on and how you’re going to fund it, either through the business or partly from other sources.
What is your business idea?
What are you going to do to generate income? Clearly define your business idea and your USP. Think about costs and selling price. What exactly will you offer and can you afford to do it for the price you’re charging? What can you do that will help you differ from the competition? This will involve doing some market research and some research into your competitors.
Who is going to work in the business?
Will you work on your own or with other people? Will you need to employ staff? If there is more than one person involved in the business, what will be their roles? If you can clearly define expectations, job roles and responsibilities from the outset, it could help you avoid difficulties later. You will also need to decide on a legal structure for your business. Will you be a Sole Trader, a Partnership or a Limited Company? Deciding on the right legal structure for your business will depend on a number of factors and you can get more information from the Government website.
Is the time right for you to start a business?
Consider where you are in your life and if you have the support and resources at this point to go ahead with your idea and succeed. Are you going to work full time on the business or only part-time? If you are going to sell products or services, when will these be available for your customers to buy? Consider your opening times and the hours you’ll work on, and in, your business.
Where will your business be based?
Perhaps you can work from home, in which case there will not be too many costs involved. You may only want an online business or both. You may need to rent office space or retail premises. If so, consider the location. Is the location right for your business? Will you get enough passing trade or will it be easy for customers to find you and access your products or services easily? If you need to rent or buy space, make sure you weigh up all the costs against the benefits. For example, will you need an expensive city centre shop in the early days or can you get things started and generate enough sales by taking on somewhere out of town?
How are you going to do it?
This is where your business plan comes in. Your business plan is your set of instructions for running your business. It should include all of the above as well all the costs involved, how you will fund the business and how you are going to generate sales. Think about how you will drive customers to your business and generate sales. This will be made up from your market research and your marketing plan. You wouldn’t set out on any journey without thinking about how you were going to get from A to B. This is the same with your business plan. Once you have everything down on paper, keep reviewing it regularly and as things change, because they will, adjust it accordingly.
Once you’ve considered all of these points, you’ll have a clear idea of what’s involved and how you’re going to do it. If you decide that setting up your own business is right for you, contact Nwes for free support, training and advice to really help you fly!
Written by Lisa Vincent, Nwes Business Advisor