In this economic climate, launching a startup is harder than ever before. But, it is the bold and the brave who succeed in the face of adversity, and if you’re considering setting up your own business, then here are some pointers that can help:
I know this is obvious, but it really is the most important thing to get right. Whether you are spending a business loan, inheritance or savings – make sure your budget is big enough so that you can commit to your business idea. Quite simply, if you haven’t got enough money, save. Your budget everything – and we mean everything. Budget for every lunch, phone call,, pencil sharpener, and if you have to estimate – over estimate!
Ideally you will have an accountant, but if you don’t then at the very least talk through your budget with one for a one off charge. This is the most important thing a startup has to get right
Create a strong brand
A brand is not just a logo. You need a vision and a mission statement, and a list of core business values in order of priority. This will depend on your main unique selling points. Are you the best, the most affordable – or are you the most enjoyable to work with? When you have sorted out what your company stands for, ensure that your logo represents these values. Choose company colors and a memorable name. While you are thinking about these things make sure that every decision is relevant to your target market.
Get a decent website
This doesn’t have to cost the earth, but it is worth getting right. Find a web developer who is on the same page as you are. Have a look to ensure that they’ve created the kind of site you would like to have before. If you’re strapped for cash, then write your own copy for the site and take your own pictures, but don’t try and create the site yourself – this will require a professional. Make sure the design is visually appealing to your target demographic and make sure it is straightforward and user friendly.
Luckily for startups, we have this little tool called the internet. The internet makes what was once an impossible dream, possible for entrepreneurs everywhere. You can now market your business yourself. Admittedly as your business grows you will want to pay an agency to do this for you, but as a one/two-man-band, you can do the bare essentials yourself.
Do some research and find out where your market is hanging out on the web. What blogs are they reading? What social networks are they having conversations on? Where do they get their information? There are plenty of free and cheap tools to measure where people are talking about your business on the internet, so it may be useful to start doing this from the very beginning. Then start talking to people, spread the word of your business by creating content and distributing it where your market are looking.
James Caan started out in a broom cupboard and went on to be a millionaire. Luckily, times have changed and there are other options when looking for office space. Serviced offices are perfect for small startups. With meeting rooms, a secretary and a central location, new clients will not be able to see how big/small/new you are. It is never a good idea to work at home, unless you have a separate office in your garden. Serviced offices can give you that space as well as high spec computers, a nice atmosphere amongst other business people (whom which to share contacts with) and a 9 – 5 office environment.
We wish all new startups the very best of luck with their business endeavors and we hope that our tips have helped!