A silver lining of lockdown in the UK has certainly been the increase in people, especially women, taking the courageous step of launching their own online businesses.
Despite the unprecedented times, alongside a struggling economy due to ‘Brexit’ and the impact of the pandemic, many people are using the extra time at home to launch businesses they perhaps haven’t had time to do before! The social media age has certainly assisted with this, with many opting to utilize Instagram or Facebook to promote a brand quickly and engage with potential customers.
However, starting your own business can still be a scary plunge to take – particularly in such uncertain times! If you have a business idea you would love to make a reality, or if you have recently started out, here are some useful considerations.
Tackle Your Fears
One of the most common reasons people stall from starting their own businesses is the fear of failure! Many people have the dream of being a business owner or working for themselves. Unfortunately, few follow through on their ambition. Many worry about having enough time and how they can manage their personal responsibilities or financial troubles if it doesn’t pay off.
Of course, these are all very real concerns when taking the plunge to launch alone! There are many risks associated with business ownership, and while the risks may reap rewards, this is not always the case.
However, if your dream is to be a business owner, this shouldn’t stop you from striving to reach your goals. Assess each reason that is holding you back and think about how you can mitigate the risk or find a viable solution. Tackle each problem individually. This breaks them down into solvable chunks, otherwise it can begin to feel like an overwhelming wave of fear!
If your dream is to launch a business, you will be able to find solutions, so don’t let it hold you back!
Accept at Launch, It Will Not Be Perfect
It is very easy to fall into the trap of ‘waiting’ to improve your product or service, or to perfect your marketing strategy or to wait for the right time. The reality is, it will never be the perfect time!
I often speak to entrepreneurs (myself included) who looking back, wish they had launched earlier instead of delaying in the hope of perfectionism. Just do it!
As the business develops, you will naturally make improvements to your product or service as well as your business strategy and processes. If you feel 60-70% ready, it is probably time to launch!
Managing to launch something off the ground, is a huge success in itself. Once the business is running, you will have a clearer vision of where to make improvements and adaptations.
Cash Flow Projections
When you are starting a new business, it can be easy to run away with an idea you are passionate about without delving into the business model. From the outset, have a clear cash flow projection of your running costs, expected turnover (based on a realistic model), and profits.
If you will be relying on the business to support your livelihood, build your personal expenses into the cash flow so you have a realistic plan. Try to do this for at least six months ahead of time. If you can, put aside three to six months of personal expenses as a safety net in case things do not go to plan.
When creating your cash flow, adopt a cynical approach. This will leave wiggle room for mistakes or costs that will inevitably happen in the process of starting a new venture!
Don’t Quit Your Job… Yet
Starting a new business doesn’t necessarily mean you need to quit your job straight away. Balancing a full-time day job and launching a business out of hours is undoubtedly extremely demanding. However, it can offer reassurance and stability during the first, tricky stages of launching a business.
If you can balance both, maintaining a steady income can give you the time to build a strong customer base and consistent revenue from your business without the additional pressure of trying to generate profits from day one.
Once you have built a strong foundation, transitioning to business ownership full time and leaving your day job will be a lot less daunting!
It can be a scary thought to promote a new business to the world, but you must exude confidence and passion for your business! Let’s face it, you need to be confident in your product/service for customers to part with money to buy it!
To promote your business as much as possible, you will need to push yourself out of your usual comfort zone. This is probably even more true at the moment, with lots of businesses competing for online presence!
Think about the audience you want to target and the best way to get your message across, then be sure to be bold and take action!
Finally, probably one of the dullest parts of starting a new business… your legal requirements as a business owner. Again, this can be an area which is easy to dismiss, as it is far less exciting than launching and marketing a new product or service.
However, it is imperative you do not overlook this area, as it could land you in sticky waters further down the line! Check if you need to be an incorporated company, you may also need licenses and/or registrations, as well as insurance! If you are unsure, consult with an expert!
If you have always dreamed of being a business owner, take action. Be sure to plan and chase your dream, I am sure there are many successes waiting for you!