Starting your own business? We’ve been there.
Starting your own business is like your first day at ‘Big School’…you’ve got the basics nailed, but now you need to know a whole lot more on a variety of different subjects to progress and pass your exams!
So, you’ve been with your company for a good number of years, you’re happy, you know your job and you’re good at it. Then something changes in your life. A change in circumstances, redundancy, you’ve had a great idea, or you just feel you’d like to do something different and start your own business. You’ll be in control of your own destiny, and be your own boss.
But it quickly dawns on you that although you’re good at your job, your knowledge of what you need to do to run a business falls far short.
Things to think about when you’re starting your business
Some things I wish I’d thought more about (or known about) when I started my business were things like: What’s my business strategy? Do I have the right skills to start my business? Do I know how to self-motivate, manage my time efficiently and develop those all-important interpersonal skills?
Also, what was my “why” for starting in the first place? The “why” is so important, as once you know this, you’ll know what it is you want to do and how you’ll do it. Two excellent books to read are ‘Start with Why’ and ‘Find Your Why’ by Simon Sinek. Spend some time thinking about this, and be honest with yourself. Simon’s books are a great way to help you discover your why.
Marketing your business
When I first started, I didn’t have a proper plan or strategy, particularly for marketing. Because of this, I wasted a lot of valuable time. I didn’t know my target market; I wasn’t sure who they were or what they wanted.
Your marketing is one of the most important things to get right. How are you going to take your product or service to market? How are you going to find your customers? Who’s your target market? Have you researched your competitors? Speak to people who will use your product or service and get some feedback. Find out, is what you are offering what people want? If no one else is doing it or offering it, is there a good reason?
Thinking about your business cash flow
This was probably one of the most difficult aspects I found in starting my own business. When you’re employed everything is magically taken care of for you and a nice salary drops into your bank account at the end of every month. That doesn’t happen when you run your own business!
Managing your money is so important (so is a good accountant); cash flow problems can be a nightmare. It’s essential that you keep on top of your invoicing and track your finances coming into and out of your business. Try and forecast as accurately as you can how much you will sell and how much you will spend. Have a bit of a cash reserve that covers you for up to two or three months if things get a bit tight if you can.
Have you heard of the 50-20-30 rule as a basic way of budgeting? This tends to be generally for personal savings, but it can be equally applied to your business. Say for example 50% on essential expenses, 30% building your business through expansion or new equipment (or maybe personal development) and 20% on your future, developing new products or services and any other financial goals etc.
Starting and running your own business can be a challenge. It’s not easy when you first start and there is so much to learn. But, it can also be extremely rewarding, opening you up to new opportunities in both business and in your personal life. Just be aware of the things I’ve touched upon (there are lots more things too!) and plan accordingly. The most important thing is don’t be afraid to ask for help or support. You don’t have to feel alone or isolated. As my title suggests, we’ve all been there!
At In Business we offer all our members some of the best support and help possible, have you checked out our website?
Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to know more.