How to start a small business?
Starting a business, either with or without initial capital, however, involves a series of steps to be perfectly executed. In this article, we will be discussing these steps and their importance to starting a small business.
A team of experts will get you the answers you need to get started with your business.
Gone are the days when you needed huge capital before you could set up a business. Not to get it wrong, there are business ventures that must definitely be predicated on huge capital. However, in this era, it is possible to start a business without investing a dime in liquid cash. This is the case for artisans, online businesses, and some others.
To start a business, either small or big, you need a plan. Here are some questions you should ask.
- What do you want to do?
This is the most important aspect of starting a small business. The reason is that knowing what you want to do is the beginning of business wisdom as it were. For this, you will need to do a market survey to know how feasible your plan is. Know who your competitors are and explore what you can do to make your services unique.
- Which goods and or services are you wanting to provide?
This can be done while carrying out a market survey. As said earlier, when you know the people selling the same goods and services and what they are doing, you will know how to make yours better and more acceptable to customers.
Also, if you are into the retail business, you may just need to find suppliers who are willing to take a chance on you and start from there.
- How would you provide such goods and services?
Would you prefer to have a physical office space or rather sell online? You should have a solid plan on this. These days, many small businesses are building an online presence which is boosting their sales. Even established companies are marketing and creating ads online, so that may be a good starting point for a small business. This is because most young people, who happen to dominate the online world, spend 80% of their time online if not all. If your goods and services are targeting those in that age bracket, an online business may be the best option.
For example, if you want to sell apparel, build a website and create ads to market your business such that you can create traffic to your website. Do social media campaigns on multiple platforms if possible. This sort of marketing would go for all kinds of business.
- Do you need capital to start?
Here is the difficult part, isn’t it? Capital… It’s one reason many businesses never took off to start with. But the real question is, do you need capital to start your business? We’ve talked about doing a market survey and knowing what doing the kind of business you are wanting to do entails. If you have diligently done that, you would know if you need capital to start.
It is important to note that some businesses do not require money at all to start. An example is copywriting, editing, graphic design, and a host of other services that you can provide to earn cool money without any liquid capital except your laptop and your brain of course.
- What is the minimum amount you can start with?
If you have already determined that you really would need capital to start your new business, then the next thing is to know the minimum amount you would need. It is possible to seek the help of family members if the amount is what they can afford to gather for you.
If you would need investors or partners, this is the time to know too. To woo investors, you need a solid business plan that outlines all you want to do, the different milestones you hope to achieve, and when. Investors need to know you have a solid plan and that the endeavor is solid enough to bring them a profit on their investment. This is why you must have done a thorough market survey and analysis.
- What tools would be needed to start my small business?
As stated earlier, you need to know the tools you would need to start your business. If you would need office space, you should look into getting one. It doesn’t have to be a big one but it must be strategically positioned such that you have easy access to your raw materials (whatever that is) and close enough to your final consumers.
In addition, make a list of all the tools you would need including stationery, people, and other resources. If you’d rather work alone and outsource some services to reduce overhead costs, you need to know.
- Who are my ultimate consumers?
You should know your target clientele. If your ultimate target is high-end clients that prefer things done in certain ways, you should know. Take, for example, Apple. Their target is to produce electronics for people with class and they have stuck to that. You can question why their apps and OSs have to be so unique and exclusive all you want but it doesn’t change the fact that they know what they are doing and their customers know them too! They’ve been in business for a long time and they are still thriving.
So, you need to know who your target audience is and find out means to reach them with your products. It doesn’t have to start on a large scale, start small and build from there.
- Do I need middlemen to dispense my goods to the final consumer?
There are marketing situations that require middlemen. In such cases, you may just seek out established middlemen or build your own team. Since you are starting small, building your own team may be the best option because it means you can do it on your own terms.
- Do I need a personal or host website?
Any business, big or small, needs to have an online presence. The world has moved from radio and TV jingles to as small as 30 seconds ads in apps, host websites, and social media.
If you have determined that you need a personal website, you can either do it yourself using web building sites like WordPress or MailChimp. These sites make creating your own website easy and at a low cost. If you’d just like to be hosted on other people’s sites too, go for it. But as a small business, it’s better to go for options that better showcase your business to the world and at a low cost.
It is however important to know that you should always monitor the progress of your website because this is how you make yourself visible to your clients. As a matter of fact, most of your clients get in contact with your website first. For this reason, you must always update and refine your website to make it more attractive to customers.
- How do I grow my business and client base?
This can be done through some of the means we’ve mentioned earlier such as ad and social media campaigns and website creation and personalization.
Some other way to grow your clientele and business in tow is branding. Branding includes choosing a unique and catchy business name, creating a logo, and or trademark. You should research the different aspects of branding and color schemes that suit your business and appeal to your target audience.
You must also know that every target audience has what appeals to them and that should be your target too otherwise you lose them before they get to know your brand.
- Do I need to register my business with HMRC or Companies House?
This is important. First, you should know what business structure you are going for.
As a small business, it may be wise to choose the sole trader or business partnership structure. These structures do not require you to register unless you have started earning up to £1000. You can voluntarily register but it is not compulsory until you reach the threshold. There are benefits to registering to pay tax which include proof of self-employment to benefit from tax-free childcare and Class 2 National Insurance. So, if you are going for these structures, register to take a Self-Assessment test with HMRC. You can do it online or by post but online is better and faster.
Otherwise, if you are choosing the limited liability company, limited partnership, or limited liability partnership structure, you must compulsorily register with the Companies House before you commence business. If your company is not ready for business yet and you would like to remain dormant for some time, you may choose to not register for corporation tax while registering with Companies House. You can do that separately when you are ready through the HMRC’s website.
- Do I need to insure my business?
For security, we recommend getting business insurance for your business. If you have employees, have an insurance policy that guarantees their financial safety to an extent in the event of liquidity or natural disaster. Having insurance also gets you some worthy clients that can help boost your business.
In conclusion, all these questions and more should be adequately answered when you are thinking about starting your business. It is also important to have specific goals and milestones of expected achievements. This will encourage investors if you need one. And learn to celebrate the small wins each step of the way to serve as encouragement that there are many days ahead.
How to plan an advertising strategy?
1. Create awareness on social media
You need to create catchy and succinct social media adverts that promote your goods and services without being overbearing or boring. You can even easily relate with your customers and get their opinions.
A team of experts will get you the answers you need to get started with your business.