1/ Write a Business Plan
The first thing that you should do when starting off on your own – is to write a business plan – this should set out the way in which you intend to operate your business, your financial forecast and your plans for success. Get your plan checked out by your local business advisor or Chamber of commerce – following a well thought out business plan will help you avoid pitfalls.
2/ Get yourself an accountant or financial adviser
Having the right financial support is vital – running a business is a difficult at the best of times and trying to get a handle on complex financial issues and mandatory business returns is nigh on impossible without the right people behind you – Don’t try and do all of this yourself.
3/ Organize yourself
Sounds simple but generally when your starting a business you’ll be all things to all men from Managing director – salesman – secretary – by making sure you set time aside for all your tasks and prioritizing what’s important you will ensure that you don’t sink under a mountain of paperwork
4/ Join your local business advice center or trade organization
Joining your local business advice center when starting out will give you two things – firstly being part of a peer group will provide the support that you’ll need – share concerns and advice with other business people who are going through similar challenges – secondly local business groups offer an excellent opportunity to network and find sales for your business
5/ Get the right legal structure
There are a variety of ways that you can setup your company – each has respective pro’s and con’s and this requires careful consideration – seek some advice and research your options before starting out.
6/ Choose a business name
Ensure that your business name is unique, make sure that you cant’ be confused easily with other companies, make sure an internet domain name is available that matches your choice.
7/ Check out your competitors
Researching your market is vital – knowing what your competitors are offering, their pricing – their sales techniques will help you pitch your products correctly – spend time to check out their websites – visit them at trade shows. Where you lose sales – try and follow up by asking why – what did your competitor offer or provide that you didn’t – getting a good understanding will help you win that next sale.
8/ Open a business bank account
Ensure that you separate your personal finances from your business finances – get the mixed up and you’ll get yourself into trouble! – make sure you set up a business bank account and has a suitable filing system to manage your business accounts.
9/ Develop a marketing plan
A marketing plan is a key step for any business. Including your market research, your competitor analysis and your pricing plans – this document lays out your approach and gives you a plan to follow.
10/ Understand your customers
It may sound obvious but spend time with your potential clients – understand what their problems are and how your business and products will help solve them – understanding the needs of your customers will give you the crucial edge.