Starting your own business can be a daunting process, especially if you are leaving the security of a paid job in order to follow your passion and dream of being an entrepreneur.
While you may be forfeiting the security or certainty of a monthly salary, you get to be your own boss every day, and this alone can motivate someone to take the leap of faith and ‘go it alone’ into the world of entrepreneurship.
According to StartUps.co.uk, in 2014 almost 600,000 businesses were started in the UK alone - a fact which proves that now is a great time to start your own venture. Hundreds of thousands of people like you decided to start their own business and while not all of them will be as successful as planned, many will go on to flourish in their industries.
Before you make the decision to start up your own business though, you need to decide if taking the risk in the hope for a bigger reward (whether a financial reward or a lifestyle reward) is worth it based on your current circumstances. You must also be prepared to overcome any challenges that may present themselves as you pave the way to achieving the entrepreneurial lifestyle you dream of.
Here are four tips on how to make the transition as smooth as possible:
1. Find yourself first
To get hit the ground running, you need to know what your strengths and weaknesses are in order to build a system around your business whereby you don’t end up doing everything.
According to Tim Ferris, author of The 4-Hour Work Week, you should be working on your business and not in your business. This means you will need to recognise what you are good at quickly and delegate or outsource things that you are not such a natural at!
Entrepreneurs tend to do everything themselves but that is a guaranteed way to burn yourself out fast. Find good suppliers to outsource tasks such as your bookkeeping and accounts, your website design, your branding and any other things that you are not skilled at. This way, your time is freed up for doing things more beneficial, like getting out there and finding clients.
You will also have to accept that you may face a fair few challenges and you might not find the success you’re looking for straight away. Have a strong character to accept this as a fact and be prepared to self-motivate – pick yourself up and try again.
2. Solve a problem
Just because you want to start a business, it doesn’t mean that your product or service will sell. If what you are offering solves someone’s problem, you will find it a lot easier to sell the idea to potential customers and clients. If you’re not attempting to solve a problem, your service becomes a luxury rather than something that someone needs.
By positioning yourself as a problem-solver, your product or service will be seen as a worthwhile offering, no matter if your customers are everyday consumers or other businesses.
3. Do your research
Knowing your audience before you start and streamlining your marketing so that the right people see your offering will save you a lot of time and money in the long run. Knowing who the decision makers are, knowing what they are looking for, how they respond to new products and what sort of questions they ask before buying are all important elements to understand before you start. Knowing all of this will give you the best chance of success.
Understanding how the market works is important too. Find out what is selling well and why it is, find out why certain products are succeeding and why others don’t do so well.
If your idea is aimed at making an existing product or service better, do a SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunities and threats) analysis of your competitors to see where your offering fits into the market.
4. Get the timing right
They say the best time to start is right now, which is true to an extent; but in terms of the way you market your product, you may need to plan for a specific time to launch.
Be sure to consider seasonal trends and economic issues, and whether they could impact your success. If most of your sales occur during Christmas, give yourself enough time to launch, market your business and build up some momentum in time for the seasonal rush.
In regards to the launch itself, don’t forget to consider how you’re going to market your product or brand. When marketing online, try to think about the best ways to improve your SEO (Search Option Optimization) or PPC (Pay Per Click) in order to attract traffic to your website. For marketing offline, opt for posters, flyers or billboards. They’re cost-effective, tangible and sure to bring in the business.
So there you have it; the four tips for you to consider when starting out as an entrepreneur. In reality, there are no hard and fast rules to success when it comes to starting out on your own, but by following some basic principles of business, you can set yourself up for success much faster.
About the author:
Suraj Sodha is a UK-based entrepreneur who quit his job in 2007 to start doing business online. Today he runs WPMaintain.co.uk and offers various other services. You can follow him on Twitter @SurajSodha or on his website www.SurajSodha.com