When thinking of starting your own business one of your first steps is likely to be to scan the web to find great tips to guide you in the right direction. You could get lost in the online universe, as there is an abundance of information available, but here we break it down for you and discuss which tips are most relevant for startups.
Get your head around it
Firstly, you will need to get your mind in order, or as Will King puts it: “have a singularity of purpose in what you’re going to do.” Most articles relating to tips to starting your own business, advise you to start within an industry you already know well and spend some time learning the tricks of the trade. This way you can identify what you are drawn to, where there’s a gap in the market and how you can take something further than the initial thought.
Try not to go at it alone
This is not the time to be a lone wolf, you need a definitive support structure in place to help you out if things get rough. Get the honest opinion of trusted advisers before simply rushing ahead with an idea. Even better, find a mentor you can confide in and pick their brain or you can invest in a financial adviser.
Speaking with a financial adviser can help you figure out the finer details of your plan and get great advice on how to make the most out of your money, so that it grows steadily for years to come. It’s important for you to consider the future.
Do your market research
The thought of it might be intimidating, but market research is an imperative process which has to be done. You need to listen to what your customers want and what they think of you and your business idea. Remain confident at all times, even when you start to feel the heat. Go in prepared with the relevant questions.
You can conduct primary research, getting the information around your potential buyers yourself through surveys, interviews, questionnaires and focus groups. There is a certain etiquette for each, so be sure to brush up on the dos and don’ts before conducting your research. You could also analyse secondary research, such as a whitepaper. This information can give you insight into the behaviour of potential customers within your industry. Read on to learn more about how to collect and analyse your customer data.
Also keep in mind that you want your research to yield honest results, so your questions need to remain unbiased and must not be misleading.
Write out a business and marketing plan
Before trying to convince others that your idea will work, you first have to convince yourself that it makes sense. Think about your goals, how will you start and where do you see yourself growing in the short term. This is the time to think about forecasted sales, profits, income and expenditure. Before presenting your business plan pretend you are presenting to a panel of judges similar to that of the reality TV show The Dragon's Den. Every flaw in your plan will be scrutinised, so be sure to come out on top with a thought-out and well written business plan. You need a business plan to be able to open a business bank account and to register for SARS. Most importantly it’s the first impression of your business for potential investors.
A good business plan goes hand-in-hand with a marketing plan, many neglect this, but when starting your own business you need a plan in place to prescribe how you will go about attracting and retaining customers. What communication channels will you use to reach your potential customers and what will your marketing strategy essentially look like?
Avoid following the herd when starting your own business
As you will likely have discovered from your investigations so far, many people go online to research before committing to a purchase. To become the kind of business that attracts these clients as a go-to site when considering a product, it’s a no brainer that the first thing you’ll need is a fully optimised website. Sage Online tools offers a website builder and startup marketing package with ecommerce integration. Try our free 30-day-trial to get acquainted with what we have to offer.