Are you starting a small business?
Are you interested in starting a small business of your own?
Then this article was written with you in mind.
Firstly, starting your own business be it a modest undertaking or a major enterprise can be a major milestone in your life. Before you set off on such a great adventure, it is important to establish whether starting a small business will be the right step for you. Being your own boss and also the boss of others does not suit everybody – but if it does you would not want to work for anybody ever again!
Do you have those characteristics? You should check the list here.
Once you have decided that starting a small business suits your personal abilities and is what you really want to do, then you should consider what type of business that you are going to run. In fact you might already have a business in mind.
Here are some tips on how to assess whether your small business will be a success. Checklist here
You must also have a small business idea that you are interested in implementing. Here are the general guidelines that you can use to check if your small business idea is feasible.
Armed with your verified business idea you need to answer the basic question is there a market for my product (or service)? and is it big enough to support me and my business? Finding the market takes market research to define the size of the market and its area, and to develop a customer profile. You can then assess if you will make enough sales to afford starting a small business. Other key factors to check are who the competition is and why people come to you instead of your competitors.
Here is an article on market research that can be used for starting a small business.
One of the initial steps of starting a business is the preparation of a business plan. A detailed planning document that sets out in both words and figures the proposed business venture. This can be either a new business or a major expansion or diversification of an existing business. A business plan is essential for every type of business. The principal role of a business plan is to convince financial backers that you business is a sound financial proposition – it also helps you to plan and monitor the progress of your business.
Freebizplan.org is a website that provides comprehensive guidelines on how to prepare a business plan.
Raising finance – How much money do you need to fund your new venture? Putting together your business plan should have given you the answer to this question. To start raising the finance, you need to know how much money is needed to get the business. This should be in addition to the money set aside for your living expenses, since the business is unlikely to generate profits for some time.
Here are series of articles that you should read regarding business finance.
Finding and equipping premises – Small businesses need small premises and these can be hard to find. Premises usually are the second highest cost after wages, so it is vital to find the right place to work. The key points are location, cost, size and layout and in some cases whether to rent or buy. Once you find the right workplace, there are some equally important decisions to make, including what equipment to buy – from computers and phone systems to storage and manufacturing machinery.
Checklist on finding and equipping premises
Marketing – You have a business only if you can make sales and the whole process of getting those sales involves proper marketing. Good marketing process is vital for every business it covers the whole process of selling goods or services, including correct pricing, appropriate advertising, promotion and effective selling. These elements need to be working in harmony to achieve best results is why marketing strategy is important.
smallbusiness-marketing-plans.com – website provides comprehensive guidelines on preparation of marketing plans and marketing strategy.
Advertising and Sales Promotion – Selling your products or services is one of the most crucial aspects of running a small business. Advertising let potential customers know that you exist and encourage sales, but there is no substitute for excellent promotional and selling skills when it comes to making sales.
Some important tips on advertising and sales promotion techniques
Exporting – Businesses start to export for different reasons – but the main reason is to make the best of a product over a wider market rather than only the home market. Another good reason for exporting is to reduce risk by widening your customer base. Like any other major change to your business exporting needs to be carefully researched and planned in advance.
Here is a detailed export plan that you can use.
Employ staff – All businesses need to employ staff as they expand. Taking on a new member of staff is a major step in the life of any business. Recruiting, training and supervision will all take up a significant amount of time as an employer. Staff also adds substantially to your cost – in addition to wages you also need to pay for holiday and sick leave and overheads usually rise too. On the benefits side staff will allow for the business to expand, will free up time of the owner and bring in new expertise to your business.
Here is a list of items that you should consider as part of human resource planning
Financial controls – Business is all about money and the proper management of that money is paramount to the success of any business. Ability to manage business bank account, keeping records, how to keep a simple set of accounts, how to do cash flow forecast, minimizing your overheads, solving cash flow problems and dealing with late payers.
Staying Ahead – Starting a small business is relatively easy compared to staying in business – that is the real challenge. Simply working long hours and expending a huge amount of effort does not necessarily yield results. Success comes after a combinations of thought, preparation, application and perhaps some good luck too. Whether you want to start your business or simply keep it trading successfully – you need to plan for the long term future of your business.
Legal Matters – There are a number of laws and regulations with which businesses have to comply. General guidance is provided but this should not be taken as authoritative statement of the law. For more information consult a solicitor or relevant authorities.
Financial Matters – This is an introduction to income tax and PAYE, National Insurance contributions, corporate tax, capital gains tax, and VAT. The information here is for general guidance only and should not be regarded as a complete or authoritative statement on taxation. For more information consult an accountant or IRS