So, you are considering starting up a small business? You’ve got a great idea that you know you can make money from, but you’re not quite sure how to get started. Here are some of the things you need.
The details of this will depend on what kind of business you want to start. Some, such as a marketing business, could be run out of your own home. Others, like an e-commerce store, could perhaps be run from home, but you might need to look into additional storage for stock. However, in some cases, like a restaurant, for example, you will need some proper premises. In these cases, think about exactly what you are going to need in terms of stockrooms, offices and customer-facing areas. If your business is food-related, you need to make sure it’s suitable for storage and preparation.
For a home office, you may just need stationery and a computer. But make sure you get enough to keep all your invoices and files organized. For anything else, you’ll need to think about stock, equipment, uniforms, chemicals and cleaning supplies. Make a list and start comparing costs.
Next, you’ll need to make a business plan. You can get some great templates to help. Be sure to think about both the short, and long term. What can you do at the very beginning to help you get where you need to be? Don’t do anything at the start just because it’s easy if it will make your life harder later. Do things right, including filing and reports, from the very first day. A comprehensive business plan will help you look and feel professional, and could help you to secure a small business loan if you need one.
A financial forecast is a great tool for a business of any size. It’s important to have it in place as you start, but you’ll probably find that over time you’ll have a much better idea of your business finances, so make changes and additions when you need to. Try to factor in everything. Any orders, rents, expenses, utility bills, staff wages, cleaning costs, absolutely anything you spend, and when. Look at what the competition is doing, and any expected global market changes which could potentially affect you. This will help you identify the need to borrow money, and keep it to a minimum.
Having a high-quality website is a must for any small business. Even if you are running a brick and mortar operation, an online presence is a brilliant way to let people know about your business. Include rich data, like your address and opening times, as well as great SEO, to make sure your site gets found.
Marketing doesn’t have to be expensive, in most cases, you can get started yourself. Use your website to promote your business. Blog marketing is hugely effective at the moment, so try to work with some influential bloggers. Ask if you can write guest posts on their sites, and offer them the same opportunity. Make sure your business is also listed on social media; Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are incredibly useful. Social media is a great way of reaching a wider audience, and getting your business known quickly and easily.
Starting a small business is an incredibly challenging experience. There is a lot you need to get started, and a lot to think about. However, there is no better feeling than when it goes well, especially when you set it up on your own, and the achievement is completely yours. So, while there are sure to be some hard times ahead, celebrate your victories, no matter how small.