Starting a business is no mean feat. It requires planning, dedication, and a lot of hard work. You also need to be an avid learner, as you most likely will be wearing several hats, especially at the start of your business journey. You may have some idea of what running a business may look like, but when it comes down to the intricacies, you need to learn quickly and apply.
Step 1 – Come up with a business idea
This step, without a doubt, is the most crucial in your entire business journey. You can find loads of guides and articles on business ideas; however, if you’re not passionate about it, you won’t be able to pull through the long, arduous hours of back-breaking work.
So, make sure you spend enough time researching your business idea, as this will decipher if you succeed or fail in your business journey.
To come up with a business idea, consider brainstorming. Write down all your business ideas on a piece of paper and create the pros and cons of each idea. Understanding your skills and background would always be a plus when considering a business idea. Solving a problem or creating a mundane activity into something interesting, are just some of the ways you can be different from your competition.
Step 2 – Research your idea
Pretty much every question you can think of, there would be an answer for it on the internet. Google has made this process far more user-friendly and efficient than it was ever before. By typing in your business idea, you will get hundreds of pages of content to read through.
If you have time, then visiting the British Library would be a good reference point. Their intellectual property center will provide you with very detailed market insights. Besides that, it is a lovely place to read and visit.
So, what exactly are you researching? Here are some points that you can start your research by:
- What is your target market looking for? Google trend is a free tool that will tell you exactly which keywords are being used on the google search engine to find out about a certain product or service.
- Understand your competition. This is a critical step, as it will help figure out a market space, which you can capitalise on as your unique selling point (USP). This will require time, but it is far easier to do this today than 20 years ago. All you have to do is search for businesses similar to the one you intend to do, and research each of their websites.
- Search your competition for how they are conducting business in general to understand their marketing strategies, their target market, the products and services they are offering, and how long they have been in the market. This will help create an understanding of how to beat your target market.
Step 3 – Compile a business plan
Most business owners will skip this step entirely. However, having a business plan is crucial, as it will build a solid foundation and a sense of direction in achieving your goals. Most importantly, if you are looking for a business loan, then without a plan, there is a nil chance of you getting one.
Writing a business plan is not as complicated as most will perceive it to be. However, there are a few things that you would want to consider when writing one. Our article ‘Why should you make a strategic business plan?’ goes through this in detail, and it is worth a read. You can also find further free resources to help you in your planning process in our Knowledgebase section.
Step 4 – Decide a business structure
You have come up with a business idea and done your market research. After compiling a business plan, you now need to decide which business structure is best for you. A few options are available, but the most popular ones are either registering yourself as self-employed or incorporating a company. Both options have been discussed in detail in our articles ‘Is becoming a sole trader the right choice for your business?’ & ‘Top Five perks of running a Ltd Company.’
Step 5 – Apply for a business loan
If you are just starting in business, you may find it difficult to secure a loan unless you can provide some sort of security. To tackle this issue, government-backed loans are available, which provide start-ups with up to £25k per person. Various loan providers have partnered up with the government to facilitate this.
Every loan provider has got their application process, starting with submitting a business plan. As you would have already done this, it would be a fairly simple process.
Step 6 – Sort your Start-up Accounting
As your starting a business, it’s worth understanding some basic accounting. Accounting in its most basic form is a method of organising and maintaining financial transactions. Some of these transactions are reported to the government, upon which tax is calculated.
Accounting can be split into three broad categories:
- Bookkeeping – Tracking and maintaining all financial transactions.
- Financial Reports – There are three main financial reports. Profit and loss, Balance sheet, management accounts.
- Tax – Depending upon which business structure you choose for your business, you generally pay income tax, National insurance contributions, and Corporation tax.
For each of these services, head over to our services page to understand accounting better. We provide all these services to you at very competitive prices.
Step 7 – Online and Offline Marketing
Marketing is the engine of your business. Through marketing activities you create a sales funnel for your business which ultimately drives your business forward and makes you money. There are two main marketing categories. Online and Offline.
Online – An online presence is crucial for any business starting in today’s world. You should start by investing in a website; this will be where your customers can get to know you and buy your products and services.
There are millions of websites on the internet, and so just by having a website will not mean you will all of a sudden start getting hordes of people queuing up to buy your products or services. You will have to make your website searchable on search engines like Google. There are some very clever marketing techniques which are worth reading about.
Offline – This is more of a traditional method of marketing. Distributing flyers, attending networking events, advertising in magazines and newspapers, etc.
A combination of these two will help your business massively.
Step 8 – Get Extra Support
The first place to get extra help would be to start reading books. There are many interesting books on business, entrepreneurship, self-development, mindset, motivation, leadership, etc.
By gaining this knowledge, you will set yourself in the right direction and have an advantage over those who couldn’t be bothered.
Once your business starts trading and you have some structure, it’s always helpful to get a business mentor to support you through your journey. Being an entrepreneur is a lonely road, and to have someone with whom you can speak and discuss business ideas will give you that bit more confidence in keep pushing forward.
At EvoTax, we support you throughout your business journey and take care of all your bookkeeping, accounting, and tax requirements. We will also help you in creating that all-important business plan and ensure business funding. However, the buck ends with you. You are the business, and the more you put in, the more you will get out of it. We are here to push you every step of the way and guide you towards success.
Get in touch with us today for a free consultation. We will be more than happy to discuss your new aspiring business ideas and bring them to reality.