This time of year is an extremely popular time to start a new business. Lots of people set the ultimate New Year’s resolution of deciding to work for themselves.
Domain registration company, 123 Reg, revealed last year that the number of new websites being registered always spikes in January, more than any other month throughout the year.
So if you’re one of those starting a new venture, we’ve got some handy tips to help you on your way.
Decide why you want to start a business
First of all, if you’re looking to start a business, you need to make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. If your only reason is to get rich quick, then think again. If it’s because you want the freedom to stay at home and come in when you want, you’ll be in for a shock.
Running a business could mean more money and freedom but there’s a lot of work you need to put in first. You’ll have to make sacrifices and difficult decisions throughout your time as a business owner. This is why it’s so important that you’re passionate about your business as this will keep you motivated when things get tough.
Do your research
Even if you have a great idea, it won’t go far if there isn’t a need for it. The most successful businesses got where they are by solving a problem or meeting a need. They didn’t necessarily win because theirs was the most interesting or creative concept.
So before you get too invested in your business you need to be confident that there’s a market for it and the way to do this is through market research. This can also help you understand your target market more which puts you in a better position to give them what they want and therefore increase sales.
Have a clear plan
You’ll be off to a good start if you have a clear idea of where you want to head. This means setting out specific goals and plans on how to achieve them wherever possible.
Put your goals into writing and come up with concrete methods to achieve them. While you work on your business, you can refer to them to see how you’re progressing. This is an important step if you’re applying for finance as lenders will want to see that you’ve got a solid plan in place and are likely to make a success of it before they hand over any money.
Pick and register your business name
A name is often a customers’ first impression of a business so it needs to be one that stands out and gets remembered. Once you’ve chosen one you’re happy with you should check whether it has already been used or trademarked because you can’t register the same name as another business. You don’t want someone to get confused between you and another business or for that business to sue you.
Once you’re confident the name is appropriate, you’ll need to register your business name with Companies House if you’re setting up a limited company. You can also go ahead and check whether the domain name, or something similar, is free for you to build a website with.
Have a marketing plan
Marketing your business well is essential to success, no matter how uncomfortable it may be for you to get out there and sell. Again, like anything in business it helps if you have a plan. This means having a strategy with things like social media, content marketing, PR, marketing events and SEO.
Organisation is key to making any business work so you can’t afford to lose notes or forget schedules or important deadlines.
There’s a huge market of productivity apps to help you get the most out of every day and keep on task. Try out apps like Evernote or Todoist to keep track of notes, lists, and important information online.
Use the cloud
Whether it’s cloud storage or accounting solutions, the cloud offers an easy, accessible and often cheaper solution to managing your data. You can access information whenever and wherever so that you’re not tied down to one location.
It can cut down on paperwork and make collaboration easier as colleagues can log onto the same platform to access any information they need.
Get an accountant
It might seem early days. You might even be willing to do some of it yourself. However, when you’ve got your mind on other things, accounting can end up taking a back seat. Too many things can go wrong with your accounts which could lead to investigations or fines.
For true peace of mind an accountant can help you get back to focusing on what you’re best at: building your business.
At The Accountancy Partnership, we help growing businesses keep on top of their accounts with affordable monthly fees and unlimited help and advice. For a quote please contact us on 020 3355 4047.
If you want more help and advice on how to start a new business, you can take a look at our beginner’s guide to setting up a business on our resources page here. We’ve also got plenty of other downloads to help you manage your business, finances and marketing.