So you have an idea for a small business start up but you don’t know where to start. You are an expert in your own field and feel that your knowledge and skills base can not only help you to help others but it can also help to make you a nice steady income allowing you to realize your dream of becoming your own boss.
Great, so where do you start? You know your niche inside and out but your knowledge on business startups and growth pales into insignificance. I’ve put together a list of six top tips for you that I think will help you to start your own business from scratch and to make it really work.
KEEP THE CASH FLOWING
Cash flow is mega important and is the single most problem for small business. Lack of cash flow is the number one reason for small businesses failures. Always make sure there is enough money in the bank to enable you to carry out the day-to-day basics needed to run your business. If cash flow is restricted then try raising funds from sources such as banks, family and friends, crowd sourcing or even local companies who often invest in small business for the benefits of publicity. If you know that you have a cash flow or liquidity issue you need to address it now as leaving it to chance or opportunity will lead to business failure. Far too many business owners run their business as an extension of their own personal finances. This is a really bad idea, learn to keep the two separate.
ACKNOWLEDGE THAT YOU DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BUSINESS
First of all, acknowledge that you don’t have the skills to do everything that you need to do to run a successful business. None of us actually knows everything about everything even if we’d like to think we do. With this thought in hand it’s a good idea to decide were your skills are lacking and undertake a small amount of training just so you understand the basics, then hire someone who can. You don’t need to hire employees which will increase your overheads significantly; you can in fact hire really good freelancers from online sources such as Fiverr , Upwork and hunterhawke
ARE YOU YOUR OWN WORST ENEMY?
Most of us like to be in charge of our own futures and definitely our own business. Handing over control, even just a little can leave us feeling empty and scared. It doesn’t have to be like that. You can maintain control whilst allowing those who can to perform the duties that they need to perform. Freelancers are very capable people and know their subjects well, hiring freelancers rather than employees may help you to maintain the control over your business that you desire whilst getting the job done quicker and cheaper.
LISTEN TO YOUR CUSTOMERS
Why do we tend to think that we know what our customers want, we don’t because we very rarely listen. All too often we continue to look at it from a sales point of view rather than a consumer point of view. Once you put yourself into the footsteps of the buyer and pay attention to what the customer actually wants and needs you’ll probably find out that what you are delivering needs to be readdressed. It’s all about the customer, what the customer wants and what the customer gets. In a nutshell all the customer actually wants is a product or service that fits their needs, is value for money and is administered through amazing customer service. It actually amazes me how little most small business owners value their customers. Not only is their feedback critical to you delivering what your customers need but also for their referrals and repeat business.
LISTEN TO YOUR GUT FEELINGS, THEY’RE NEVER WRONG
Our own instincts or gut feelings are seldom wrong; the issue is that most of us ignore them rather than use them as a valuable decision-making tool. We all too often are left saying; ‘if only’ when we make a bad business decision. My advice to you is to listen to your gut feelings, do some research and then act on the facts.
RUN YOUR BUSINESS LIKE A BUSINESS
If you don’t know your revenues, expenses, capital requirements, profits (gross and net), debt, cash flow, and tax rate you’re off to a bad start. First principle of business is getting the money right. Once the money aspect is operating as it should do you will be free to work on other aspects of your company.
If you don’t learn to work effectively with other businesses .i.e. through effective agreements and contracts, you will come unstuck sooner rather than later. People always have good intentions but life sometimes gets in the way and people tend to not keep their side of the bargain. Protect yourself and your business with effective contracts and agreements. Always protect yourself when trading with both companies and customers alike.
If you have intellectual property make sure that you protect it. If you don’t have the funds to copywrite or trademark you IP then you can protect your own IP on a shoestring. You just need your designs, two envelopes, a lawyer/solicitor and a stamp. Secure your signed and dated designs in an envelope marked,’ for court action only’ Date and sign the envelope. Place it into a further envelope and send it by post to your solicitor with a message on the seal stating, ‘Only open for court action’. Create a duplicate, mark it with copy and send it to yourself. Don’t forget to inform your solicitor that the letter will be arriving and needs to remain secure in their safe until needed or they may open it and you’ll have to start the process again.
I hope that these six tips for starting and growing your business have been helpful. Please look over our site to check out what we can do for you and submit your business proposal to us at: www.hunterhawke.com/contacts