When it comes to writing a business plan, there is one single golden rule that dwarfs all others – your business plan must address each of the key concerns of your potential backer.
If you fail on this first point, all the other things you should and shouldn’t do pale into insignificance and even a great business idea might fail to get backing it needs. A good business plan keeps the investor happy, so follow these 10 Dos and Don’ts to ratchet up your chances of success: (more…)
Starting your own business from scratch can be a terrifying prospect filled with self-doubt and worries about failure and going broke.
To help you safely negotiate the path of entrepreneurship, we asked business mentor and author Brian Marcel to share his blueprint for business success. (more…)
The inspiration to start a business can come 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 as no more than a few notes on a napkin? (more…)
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? (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. (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…)
When you decide it’s time to get your business started, you’ll find the first piece of advice given by most experts is to “get a business plan written”.
And they’re right; that is the first step to turn your business dream into a reality. But many people find it the hardest step to make. (more…)
If you decide to work for yourself and begin trading as a sole trader, (self-employed) you will need to set up your accounts to record your income and expenses.
In order to do this you will need to be aware of tax, national insurance and other factors that will affect the records you need to keep as a sole trader.
To help you understand your duties and to get your book-keeping done painlessly, here’s the low-down on setting up your sole trader accounts. (more…)
Entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes, of course, but many of the most innovative entrepreneurs are creative contrarians. They are outsiders, gainsaying the doubters that say it cannot be done.
In fact, many entrepreneurs are introverts, which can be a major barrier when it comes to that vital part of the entrepreneurial process: pitching. (more…)
One of the main benefits of becoming self employed is the ease with which you can start up and run your new business.
You can even become a sole trader (another term for self-employed) whilst working as an employee for someone else, so you can test the water and see whether working for yourself suits you.
To help you understand some of the most important issues, you’ll need to tackle, here are 5 things you need to do when you decide to go self employed: (more…)
To some starting a business with their partner is a great idea. A chance to spend more time together and to share the experiences of running a business.
To others it’s a nightmare. The thought of spending virtually every waking hour in each other’s pocket is simply too over bearing.
If you are thinking of going into business with your spouse, there’s added pressure to succeed. So we asked Vicki Ashman, who co-founded Scrumpies of Mayfair with her husband, to share 10 valuable lessons she has learned about how to run a successful business venture with your partner.
Building a successful new business is a roller-coaster. There will be days you know you couldn’t do anything else, and days you wish you did. Sometimes you’ll be on top of the world, but at other times it will be a struggle to drag yourself out of bed.
In the high-stakes world of starting a new business, only one thing is certain: everyone will make mistakes, but only those who learn from them will succeed.
So, to help you learn from these common errors, without making them yourself, here are 8 mistakes that startups frequently make;
Starting up and growing your own business can be extremely exciting and exhilarating, but it can also at times be quite lonely and overwhelming, particularly if you don’t have a business partner to share the experience with.
When you are sitting alone at your desk it can be hard to know where to turn for advice and support.
The good news is there is fantastic solution to this. That is to create your own support team that you can call on whenever you need to for help and advice, and even sometimes simply for encouragement and motivation and a friendly chat.
Here’s how to do it: (more…)
The days of a “job for life” are long gone. Millennials are starting their careers in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world, but they are also equipped with the skills and attitude to react quickly to changes and spot new opportunities.
The trend of young people changing jobs more frequently is one perhaps one result of a growing desire by young people to take control of their own destiny and pursue their passions, after being inspired by other young people they see doing the same online.
Just having one single “job” in the traditional sense may no longer be satisfying enough for the new generation. They increasingly want to feel passionate, engaged and motivated by their work.
Consequently, there are now thousands of young people who transfer skills between a day job (that pays the bills) and their own personal business and creative projects. (more…)
The simplest way to start a business in the UK is to become self employed. This is also commonly referred to as becoming a sole trader.
There is minimal paperwork to take care of, and you don’t have to pay any company formation costs. However, you do need to formally register as self employed with HMRC, and assume responsibility to pay your own income tax and National Insurance liabilities.
Here are the steps you must take to if you want to become self employed, plus the other aspects you will also need to consider when working for yourself: (more…)
Starting a business with friends can seem like a good idea, but before you jump in and set up a company with people you are close to, you need to be honest with yourself and each other.
If you get it wrong your new business could fail and lifelong friendships ruined. So what steps should you take before going into business with friends, or any business partner for that matter?
We asked entrepreneur, Mike France, who has experienced both sides of this coin, to share his advice on how to successfully start and run a business with friends; (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;
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…)
The fear of failure is one of the most common reasons why people decide not to start their own business. Hauling yourself out of your comfort zone and throwing yourself into the unknown takes a certain amount of courage and self-assurance.
Leaving a cosy, secure job to try and turn your business idea into reality is definitely a risk, but if you follow sound advice you’re more likely to succeed.
When it comes to good advice on starting your own business, successful entrepreneurs are always worth listening to, so we asked David Rusenko, founder and CEO of Weebly to share his 10 top tips on starting and growing your own business;
If you were to survey a group of entrepreneurs about why they started their business, I’m sure you would get a huge variety of interesting answers. Of course many of them will have been motivated by money, but I would bet that one of the most popular reasons would be a desire to create something meaningful for themselves.
The prospect of taking control of your own destiny and being your own boss is a powerful motivator. I personally spent years as a Wall Street trader but found that the money I earned and lost just became numbers that had very little meaning to me.
Chasing money felt like an empty pursuit, and deep down I really wanted to start and run my own business, be the boss, and build stuff that I could actually point at. (more…)
If you are running a successful business, the prospect of replicating that success throughout the country, with a team of crack managers at the helm can seem very attractive, but franchising is hard work, and lots of planning is required to ensure it is a success.
Making the decision to go it alone and leave the relative security of life as a PAYE employee is a big one, but it can pay dividends (quite literally) when it comes to your potential earning power.
If you’re thinking about whether becoming a contractor could be the right career move for you, we have put together this guide to cover the key things you need to know before you make the move.
If you want to become a contractor, the good news is that there are plenty of different roles available, with everything from IT specialists and engineers, to management consultants and even locum doctors engaged on this basis.
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.
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.
Of all the things you need to deal with when you start your business, two areas are particularly scary and will give you most hassle: recruitment and finding premises.
Get either of these wrong and you are facing big bills and a load of work to overcome early in the life of your new venture. Get them right, and you’ll wonder what all the fuss is about!
Human history provides countless examples of leadership be it in the political, economic or military sphere. But no two leaders are alike and some leaders have left a far more distinctive mark on history than others.
To lead other people you need to be able to communicate clearly. Indeed, many successful leaders such as Winston Churchill have been able to inspire others through the power of the spoken word.
But inspiration also requires another ingredient besides communication. It requires a vision.
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…)
Starting a new business is fun. It’s a world of learning and discovery as you set out on your own and try to build a brand new business from scratch.
Many people are so caught up in building their business that they don’t really consider where they want it to go in the long-term. And very few people are forward thinking enough to plan the finish – their exit strategy – when they are starting up.
Yet it’s an essential part of your start-up planning. Not only will there have to be a day when you walk away from the business, but when you know where you ultimately want it to go, you are much more likely to make the right decisions along the way.
Here’s why you need to plan your exit before you launch your new venture;
Being a business owner, and your own boss, is one of the most rewarding things you can do in life, but it can come with some drawbacks such as long hours, stress and a poor work/life balance.
If you’re running your own business and want to stay on top of your game for the long-term, you need to look at the way you integrate work into your life. If you work too hard, you can run yourself into the ground and actually end up damaging the business, you so desperately want to succeed.
So here are 9 thing you can do to help strike the right work/life balance while running your own business; (more…)
Being able to persuade people to come around to your point of view is a very valuable skill to have, and particularly so when you are starting and running your own business.
When you’re launching a new venture you might need to convince potential investors to fund your fledgling business, persuade suppliers to give you favourable terms, encourage great people to join you and entice new clients on board. To do all of these successfully, you will need to be able to influence others and their views.
So with this ability being so crucial in helping you to grow your business, how do you get people around to your point of view?
Companies often look to improve collaboration in order to help streamline their processes and encourage strategic pace in their organisation. Collaboration is seen as an important element in helping organisations approach their customers and industry from a more judicious standpoint, rather than striving to get ahead by mere speed.
Effective collaboration is much more than just ‘working together’ – it’s a strategic choice too. But what does this mean for start-up businesses? We asked William Buist, founder of xTEN to answer some common questions business start-ups ask about collaboration; (more…)
UK graduates interested in freelancing or self-employment feel their university should have done more to support them, according to a new study by business insurance broker PolicyBee.
The study, which surveyed just over 1,000 recent graduates, found that 62% of graduates said freelancing or self-employment was not discussed at all by their university’s career department. (more…)
Before deciding to become self-employed, it’s a good idea to think through the implications of working for yourself…
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;