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Things to Consider Before Starting a Business

By
Rebecca Moulding
The Do’s and Don'ts Before You Spring into Action
You have a spring in your step. You have it all figured out. No more line managers or deadlines, no more arrogant customers or late-night shifts. You have an idea and you’re ready to start your business.

 

Stop. Before you put all your eggs into the business-basket — e.g. tell your boss exactly what you think of him or her —  it’s time to think about the nitty-gritty of starting a business. Here are some tips to spring your business into action.

Determining the “why”

There are many reasons why people go into business, but what’s your reason? As with anything in life, whether learning to drive, cook or becoming self-employed, both good and bad times are to be expected. Reminding yourself of the reason behind all these “bad times” is a good way to stay focused, motivated and endure when you want to give up. Here are some incentives you might relate to:

 

  • Being your own boss
  • Flexible working hours
  • Better work-life ratio (reducing stress)
  • Difficulty finding employment
  • A source of income
  • Self-worth and satisfaction
  • Utilising your skill set

 

Do any of these ring a bell? The grass might be greener on the self-employment side, but you have to hop a few fences before you get there. Keeping those green hills in view will help you hop over any obstacles.

Research and be ready

You might have a brilliant idea, but that’s not enough by itself. That’s harsh, but business is tough. Tough love now will prepare your business for success. The more you understand about the industry, the market and the competition the better.

You don’t have to do this alone. There are plenty of resources out there to help you. Use the internet and research at local libraries. Join business networking events and attend trade shows near you. MENTA is the business support agency for Suffolk and Norfolk. Remember, the more you know, the better you’re prepared. Claim free business support by clicking here.

 

Write a business plan

A business plan prepares you for business. It makes you define your goals and highlights your shortcomings. It’s also used to obtain funding. Business plans don’t have to be long or complicated. Some consist of bullet points of key features and facts. Not sure where to begin? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

 

  1. Definition of business and its objectives
  2. Who your competition is and where you fit into the industry
  3. Description of target customers
  4. Where funding will come from
  5. Marketing strategy

 

This is not an exhaustive list. Business planning advice is two to a penny on the internet and the bookshelves. If you need more hands-on support, there are organisations and charities out there to help you. MENTA cover Suffolk and Norfolk and offer free business planning workshops to start-ups.

A business by any other name

What’s in a name? I’m not trying to be clever. This is a useful question to ask yourself when naming your business. If you weren’t the owner, would you know what services or products the business offers? Feedback from honest people is valuable. I know this is scary (I personally hated this part) but you’re going to have to tell the world your business name sooner or later. You might think your name is super, but if you’re the only one… Well, it’s time to rethink. Talking with start-ups, like yourself, is a comfortable way to ask for feedback. MENTA’s Start Right classes are informal and built for essential feedback support.

 

Don’t underestimate the hurdles

It’s too easy to concentrate on the sweet parts of self-employment —the creativity, the passion, the freedom. But we tend to underestimate the sour parts, A.K.A. the “challenges.” So, while you’re daydreaming about quitting your day job, ask yourself the following questions:

 

  • Is my idea feasible?
  • Do I have enough money?
  • How will I market my business?
  • What are the risks, what if it doesn’t work?

 

These questions aren’t there to frighten you; however, they will help you overcome obstacles you’ll face in the future. Think of it as the hindsight-of-today.  

Don’t go it alone

There is an assumption among business start-ups that you have to go it alone. Perhaps this is because it’s your business, so you believe you should know everything. This cannot be further from the truth. Steve Jobs had his friends at Atari and Oprah Winfrey had Robert Ebert guiding her from the beginning. MENTA’s business advisors would not be here without accepting the help of those who had gone before. There is no shame in asking for support. It grows a business like a flower.

Final thoughts

Hopefully this has answered your: “should I start a business” questions. MENTA have been growing businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk since 1984, supporting the launch of 35,000 start-ups in that time. They have a range of advice sessions, events and friendly tutors to help you on your way.

See their start-up page and book your free place now.

Email Rebecca: rebecca@menta.org.uk or call MENTA’s friendly team on 01284 760206

 

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