Starting a new business is an exciting first step. It offers the opportunity to forge your own career path, make a huge lifestyle change, and potentially disrupt your industry. Before launching your business though, you need to make sure you have the right foundations in place.
We’ve shared five practical things for you to consider when starting a new business. From market research to legal considerations, these tips will help you get the structure in place to support your idea and passion.
It’s important to make sure the basics are in order when starting a new business. These simple things are the foundations on which to build future success. For example, a detailed financial plan is key to ensuring enough funds will be available during the early months of operating. Opening a business bank account is a good idea for keeping the management of your business and personal finances separate. This will also make things easier if you need to file your own tax reports.
You’ll also need to be able to communicate effectively and professionally with customers and suppliers. Having a business email address set up and ready will make sure you appear professional and keep your business emails separate from your personal inbox. A working phone line and good broadband connection are also vital to have in place before taking your business live. Remember to factor in lead times in case cables need to be put in or equipment needs installing.
With these basics in place, you’ll be in a strong position to move onto the next stages of building your business.
Before investing your money, it’s vital to have a clear idea of what market niche your business fills. What problem are you solving? What pain is your product or service easing? The best way to find out if there is a market for your business is to speak to potential customers.
Research shouldn’t always be restricted to online sources, as telephone or face-to-face interviews might offer some perspectives you haven’t heard before. And don’t just interview people you know, as you may get more honest feedback from strangers. It can be hard to objectively evaluate our own ideas, which makes feedback from others extremely useful.
Other entrepreneurs in your niche may also be able to offer valuable help. People like to give advice and talk about their own experiences, so they’ll often be happy to let you learn from their mistakes and successes. The competition will also have some strengths and weaknesses you can learn from. Researching the competitors in your niche should help to highlight what makes your business unique.
You’ve got the idea, your business plan works, and you’ve researched your market. However, none of this matters if you can’t get the word out to a potential customer base. Marketing your business might seem daunting at first, but there are some basic first steps you can take.
Around 60% of small businesses don’t have a website, so you can get ahead of the competition and build yours before you launch. Even if you have no development background, platforms like WordPress, Wix and Squarespace are easy to use.
Next, set up your social media platforms. It’s important to use channels that your customers use, so do your research carefully. If your new business is B2B, you might find that LinkedIn and Twitter are more useful than Facebook and Instagram.
Social media is key for raising awareness of your brand: 44% of local businesses say they depend on social media to generate brand awareness, and 41% depend on it to drive revenue. Likewise, 88% of small business owners embrace social media to support their businesses.
While not the most exciting part of starting a new business, it’s good to get the legal technicalities out of the way early. It’s important to protect your idea and make sure it can’t be stolen or copied. You could also get valuable advice on choosing premises wisely, having the right contracts in place, and knowing what to insure. As you start to hire employees, employment law will need to be followed too.
There is a lot of information available online, but for peace of mind, it makes sense to consult a lawyer. They’ll make sure you have everything covered – and the upfront costs could save you from much bigger issues later down the line.
Similarly, an accountant will be able to assist in terms of tax and make sure you’re doing everything correctly. After all the hard work of setting up a business, it would be a disaster to fall foul of a technicality or a legal requirement. There can be serious penalties for failing to follow government regulations.
From broadband to energy, it’s important to use suppliers that specialise in working with small businesses. Not only will you be able to broker better tariffs, but you’ll partner with companies that understand your challenges and needs.
According to an Ofgem report, businesses say that energy bills account for over 10% of operating costs. This means it’s important to find ways to lower your costs where possible. Specialist SME energy suppliers will take into account the type of business you run and make sure you’re getting the right deal for what you require.
Choosing an SME specialist doesn’t just help you get more for your money. You’ll also get a better degree of customer service. If you have a power outage and your server goes down, you need a supplier that understands the gravity of this and can quickly get you the help you need.
Valda Energy understand the practical challenges faced by small businesses. That’s why we keep your energy supply simple with straightforward account management and customer-focused solutions.
Find out how Valda Energy can help you today, with outstanding customer service, straightforward billing, competitive prices and flexible payment options. Get a quote now or contact us to find out more about how we can help your SME.