So, you have decided to start that business that you have always dreamed of. It’s an exciting time, but also equally daunting, especially when you consider that 1 in 5 new businesses fail in the UK every year – 20% fail in the first year, and 60% in the first 3 years. That said, this means 4 in 5 businesses succeed – and here’s 5 tips to maximise your chances of success.
1. Be honest with yourself
The first crucial step of starting a business is to be absolutely sure that it is the right thing for you, and the right time to do it. It is important to be brutally honest with yourself – building a business from the ground up takes a lot of hard work, time, and energy.
It might be that you decide that now is not the right time to start the business – and that’s okay. Instead, set a clear goal as to when you want to launch the business in the future. In the meantime, you can begin to lay the necessary groundwork to ensure that when the time comes you have the best chance of success.
2. Write a business plan with a timeline for completion
Of course, it goes without saying that writing a business plan is one of the key things you must do when setting up a business. In order to maximise your chances of success, it is also a good idea to set timescales along the way of when you want to achieve certain goals, giving you more of an idea of how you might get there.
- Define your business: Clearly describe what your business does, what products or services it offers, and who your customers are.
- Outline your goals: Clearly define your business goals and objectives and how you plan to achieve them.
- Develop your marketing plan: Describe how you plan to market and sell your products or services to your target customers.
- Describe your management team: Outline the key members of your management team and their roles and responsibilities.
- Discuss your financial projections: Provide detailed financial projections, including projected income and expenses, cash flow, and profitability.
- Describe your operations: Outline how your business will be run on a day-to-day basis, including your production process, supply chain, and distribution methods.
- Include a contingency plan: Develop a plan to address potential challenges or obstacles that your business may face.
Some good guidance on how to structure a business plan is on the Inc.com website.
3. Invest in the right tools
With your business goals in mind, you will have a better understanding of where you want to go and how you will achieve it. In order to support you along the way, it’s important to consider how the right technology and tools can help.
Make a list of everything you think you might need, and do thorough research into what options are available to you. As a general rule of thumb, cloud-based solutions tend to be more cost effective, more scalable, and more future-proof than their alternatives.
The best example of this has to be unified communications. Unified communications software is perfect for your communications system, incorporating multiple communications channels into one platform. Even better, it is hosted in the cloud, meaning you don’t need to worry about physical infrastructure or start-up costs – you can operate the system through any device with WiFi.
4. Take the time to really understand your target market
Without customers, your business will not be able to take off – your customers are the catalyst to your success. This is why it is absolutely essential to do your research into your target market until you know them like the back of your hand. Consider these steps as a starting point:
- Define your target market: Clearly define the specific group of customers that you are trying to reach with your products or services. This may include factors such as age, gender, income level, location, and interests.
- Conduct market research: Gather information about your target market through a variety of methods, such as surveys, focus groups, and online research. This can help you to understand their needs, preferences, and behaviors.
- Analyze your competitors: Look at what other companies are offering and how they are targeting their products or services to similar customers. This can help you to understand what is already available in the market and how you can differentiate your business.
- Consider your unique value proposition: Identify the unique benefits that your business offers and how they meet the needs of your target market. This can help you to position your products or services in a way that resonates with your customers.
- Test your assumptions: Don’t be afraid to test your assumptions about your target market through pilot programs or small-scale trials. This can help you to validate your assumptions and make any necessary adjustments to your business model.
5. Make sure your goals and objectives are achievable
We have talked a lot about setting goals for your business – however, to increase your chances of success, you also need to ensure that the goals you set are actually achievable. Consider your skill set, working capital, and infrastructure that you have to hand to determine what is achievable for you personally.
- Set specific and measurable goals: Clearly define what you want to achieve and how you will measure progress towards those goals. This can help to make your goals more tangible and easier to track.
- Make a plan: Develop a detailed plan that outlines the steps you will take to achieve your goals. This should include a timeline for each step and any resources or support you will need.
- Set realistic deadlines: Establish deadlines for each step in your plan and make sure that they are realistic and achievable given the resources and time you have available.
- Monitor your progress: Regularly track your progress towards your goals and adjust your plan as needed to ensure that you are on track to meet your deadlines.
- Stay focused: Avoid getting sidetracked or taking on too many additional tasks that could distract you from your goals. Stay focused on the steps you need to take to achieve your goals.
And there you have it – just 5 tips for maximising your chances of success when taking the plunge and starting a new business.