Setting up a new business is an exciting, thrilling and all encompassing challenge. It is the best and most stretching form of personal and professional development that a person can do.
Creating and selling your own products and services, building a network of happy customers and managing your own time are just three of the perks that come with running your own business. But all too often, I meet entrepreneurs who are burnt out, stressed and lacking in sufficient income. This is often because they did not trial their business ideas before they got stuck in. So today, I want to convince you that you should ‘pilot’ your business idea before you launch your new venture for real. (more…)
Everybody understands that starting up a business from scratch is not a simple process or an easy challenge to take on. Regardless of how lofty your ambitions are or whether you’re aiming to establish yourself as a sole trader or as a the boss of a burgeoning new enterprise, finding access to initial and early-stage sources of finance is a vitally important step along the way towards sustainability and success.
Here’s a look at some of the most commonplace and most viable routes to finance currently available to startup businesses. (more…)
You’ve done your market research, you’ve got a solid business plan, you’ve registered your company and pulled together funding, suppliers and everything else you need to start your new business. You’re ready to trade – you just need some customers.
However, not all customers are created equal; some are a delight to deal with, while others seem to have crept from the depths just to torment you. When you’re building up your customer base, you obviously want more of the former and fewer of the latter, especially if you’re in a service-provision industry where customer relationships are key; but how can you achieve this? (more…)
The inspiration to start a business can come anywhere at any time: in the pub, in the shower, in the supermarket, walking the dog.
How many times has someone you know announced they’ve had a great business idea? And how many of those eureka moments ended up getting no further than a few notes on a napkin?
Why was this? Too much hard work involved? Concerns over starting a business being too risky? Worries about it needing too much commitment?
But those aren’t barriers to every business idea taking off; some ideas do make it from conceptualisation to conclusion. The difference? Dedication and passion. And perhaps necessity. (more…)
If your new business is going to be operating in a competitive marketplace, it’s crucial that you find a way to differentiate your business from all the competitors out there.
In short, why should customers choose your products or services over what’s already available?
If you can’t answer that question, then you need to read on to find out why it’s essential startups and small businesses find a niche, and how you can spot a potentially profitable gap in the market.
As a start-up the chances are your marketing budget is smaller than you’d like, so it’s important to get as much out of it as possible.
Although not right for every business startup, PR is a marketing tool that is well worth considering as it builds both awareness and credibility. It can showcase your expertise while delivering third party endorsement from respected journalists and media outlets.
In addition, PR is great for your SEO; having articles authored by you or quoting you filling up the first few pages of Google is just what a start-up business needs.
So how do you do it? We asked, Chantal Cooke, author of PR Demystified; how to get free publicity by giving journalists what they really need, to share her blueprint for DIY PR success;
Marketing is about getting more business – and that includes getting more value out of your existing customer base – through delivering them multiple times the value you get.
If all you did was chase new clients, then you would be regularly losing the ones you already have, which means you would need to be constantly building. This is hard work.
There is an important model that will help you understand what to do in terms of sales and marketing for your existing customers, and it is one that every business owner should know and understand. (more…)
Pop-up shops are an excellent way to test new ideas and products, engage with your target market and get feedback from potential customers, without making a big, long-term investment.
In addition to their value as a testing ground for new concepts and new businesses, pop-up shops are becoming increasingly popular as a way for existing business to take their offering to new locations.
There are lots of different factors that can determine the success or failure of a pop-up shop and it’s vital you consider these before starting your pop-up venture. Here are 6 key considerations to help you get your first pop-up shop running smoothly and generating income for your business. (more…)
When you are starting out in business, you need to quickly grasp that the three key factors that determine a company’s financial success, or failure, are:
- Control of costs
- Cash management
Two out of three simply won’t work – you need to have complete control over these three crucial aspects, otherwise your chances of succeeding in business will be very limited. (more…)
“Time is money” isn’t just an adage when running a small business, it’s a way of life. When your business model is to sell your time and expertise, it’s important to monetise every moment of every working day.
There are plenty of hacks to help freelancers and contractors get more and more efficient with reducing the cost of non-billable time. These tend to focus on outsourcing your unproductive time and automating repetitive tasks, but you also need to pay special attention to the time and effort you spend on winning new business. (more…)
It might be strange to think that storytelling can be a powerful tool for startups. But stories provide a fantastic way to explore the purpose of your new business, what it stands for, what it will be like and how you will achieve your vision.
The great thing about stories is that we are all designed to be storytellers. Every time we talk about why we are starting a business, every time we share our idea of what the business will be achieving in the future we are sharing stories.
When we do this, we are influencing others – sometimes these stories change our thinking, sometimes they help us and those around us to understand and accept new ideas. So with stories, being such a powerful tool for new business owners, here are 4 simple strory-telling techniques you can use to get results; (more…)
When you are launching a new business, it’s fair to say that planning your finances isn’t the most exciting aspect of of being a startup. However, it is a crucial part of understanding whether your business has a chance of succeeding
And the good news is that there are now dedicated software, tools and apps that can quickly and easily produce financial forecasts for you.
So to help you understand more about how planning your finances can help your startup succeed, we asked Robin Booth of Brixx.com to share his experience with us;
One of the biggest challenges you face as a start-up is getting your name out there. However, even if people hear your name, unless they know what makes your business unique, they are unlikely to choose you over a competitor. Help someone understand how you can solve their problem, however, and you’re in with a chance of becoming their preferred supplier.
One of the best ways to grow awareness is to share your industry-specific knowledge. Information you take for granted can be very valuable to people in other industries . . . but only if they are made aware of it.
By sharing what you know, you not only help others to improve their business, you can simultaneously position yourself as the ‘go-to’ person in your industry, and turbo-charge your start-up. (more…)
Launching a startup is weird. You have a big idea driving you, with lots of small things to do to get going.
You don’t necessarily have lots of business coming in or staff on board yet, but still you have to run this fledgling business the way you are going to run your future super-successful business.
The way you behave, now, at the start, will set the scene for what your business will be like in the future. This is where being a good customer comes in. (more…)
It’s safe to say that writing a health & safety plan isn’t one of the most exciting parts of starting a business. In fact, it’s something that many new business owners neglect to do.
A health and safety plan is a plan which outlines how health and safety protocol will work in your business. In an ideal world, it would be seen as something that goes alongside a business plan but, far too often, this is not the case and businesses end up neglecting it.
Planning for health and safety means more than just checking the law as you go to make sure you are following it. Rather, a health and safety plan is something that should be done in the early stages of business planning.
A number of the world’s largest companies were founded by ambitious and determined university students who weren’t afraid to dream.
Most people know that Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook in his Harvard dorm room, but were you aware that FedEx, the global courier service, was first imagined by Frederick W. Smith in an undergraduate paper while he was studying at Yale?
In fact, lots of companies that we encounter on a daily basis, like Google and Microsoft, were set up by university students who decided to run with their business ideas. So if you’re a student at university and feeling entrepreneurial, here are 10 practical tips to help you launch a successful business while you study; (more…)
If you’re in the midst of starting a new business, then the bookkeeping requirements are unlikely to be at the forefront of your mind. At this stage there can be far more pressing things for you to think about.
However, once your business is taking shape, you will need to start thinking about keeping up-to-date and accurate accounting records of your income and expenses. More than just a legal requirement, basic bookkeeping is an essential part of your ability to manage your business effectively.
But what kind of details are you going to need? (more…)
Everyone has to cope with the stresses and strains of everyday life. Challenges and changes are constant, and this is especially true if you are starting up your own business.
Adverse situations may be familiar or unfamiliar to you depending upon whether you have experienced them before, or whether you have experienced circumstances that may be similar. You will have developed coping mechanisms and these will help you in dealing with familiar adverse situations and, if you’re launching a new business, many unfamiliar ones.
As business owners we all make mistakes. It’s part and parcel of being an entrepreneur and taking risks.
Sometimes going wrong it’s part of the learning curve we all need to experience. However, there are some common pitfalls that catch many new business owners time and time again. They trip up the unwary, hold you back and stop your business from fulfilling its potential.
Knowing what these mistakes are will help you spot them before they ensnare you – saving you precious time, effort and money. Here, Shweta Jhajharia reveals the 6 leadership traps you need to avoid if you want your business to flourish.
You’ve got to be a bit of an optimist to start a new business. This positive outlook undoubtedly helps you to get through the ups and downs of starting your own business, but it’s worth investing in a bit of negative thinking too.
When astronaut Chris Hadfield described his preparation to go into space, his focus was not on how fantastic it was going to be when he got there but on being ready to deal with the things that could kill him, so he could get to come back again.
This approach has parallels for how we start up too – we can dream of the big fabulous destination, but we have to expect that we will need to overcome challenges to be a success.
Running a startup is about stepping up to run a messy marathon, not hunkering down to run a perfect sprint. We have to make sure we can go the distance and this means we need to talk about embracing failure, affordable risk and filling the weak spots.
One of the first things you will do when you set up a new business is to open a business bank account.
The easy thing to do is to use your personal bankers to act for your new business, but this isn’t necessarily the wisest move as there are significant differences between the services you will receive from the various high street banks.
Here’s some sound advice, together with some practical tips to help you get the most out of your bank, and choose the best business current account for your start-up, or small business. (more…)
Statistics from HMRC show that around 80% of companies registering for VAT cease trading within three years, and this statistic has held true for many years now.
With the chances of survival so slim, it’s a wonder so many people decide to take the plunge and start their own business. Anybody that manages to steer a start-up safely through these crucial early years, has done so against the odds and should be heartily congratulated on this achievement.
So what are the secrets to surviving the start-up years, and thriving beyond? (more…)
To create a successful new business you need four things;
- A good plan,
- A good product that people actually want,
- Good people who can make things happen, and
- A good supply of money.
Running a business is also a way of life, which invariably takes up a lot of your time, so when you are starting a business choose something that you enjoy doing, something you have a real passion for. Someone who waits to be successful in a business they don’t have a passion for will be waiting a very long time. (more…)
While many business start-ups focus on trying to come up with a single ‘killer’ business idea and attempting to raise funding for their grand vision, this is the wrong approach according to the author of ‘The Millionaire Dropout’, Vince Stanzione.
Here’s why Vince thinks you should forget about the big business idea and just get on with starting your small business;
Starting your own business can be very exciting, but the reality is that it can be very tough to get a new business off the ground.
Statistics indicate that out of every 5 businesses started, 4 will close within their first 3 years, so the chances of success are slim. However, if you are passionate about starting and running your own business, you won’t let mere statistics or long-odds get in your way!
If you are thinking about starting up this year, there are things you can do to increase your chances of succeeding. Here are 10 practical tips from the ByteStart team for anyone considering taking the plunge;
Welcome to Bytestart’s Start-Up Guide, which features bite-sized guides on each aspect of the start-up process, from choosing your business name to setting up your first website.
For any business owner, whether you’re setting up for the first time, or have years of experience, failure is a terrifying option.