You’ve spotted a gap in the market and have a brilliant idea of how to fill it – great, let’s turn it into a business!
Starting a business is surprisingly simple. If you’re passionate about your business idea and willing to work hard to make it a reality, then why wait? It only takes one day to set the wheels in motion, so make today that day!
To help you get started, we’ve come up with a checklist so you can jump those first hurdles much faster than you think. Ready? Set? GO!
9:00 am: Research, Research, Research
The first things to do if you haven’t already is to identify your target audience, research into where you’ll fit in your chosen market and find your unique selling point. Knowing this will bring some clarity to your idea and will help to form a solid foundation for your business.
10:00 am: Name Your Business
No need to agonise over this part! If the perfect name hasn’t come to you yet, the most important thing is to get the ball rolling. Write a list of ideas and use Google and Companies House to check what’s available.
10:30 am: Protect Your Intellectual Property
The name of your product or brand, the design or look of your work and your inventions or creations are all types of intellectual property. To stop someone stealing or copying your work, consider applying for copyright, a patent or a trademark to protect it.
11:30 am: Create a Business Plan
Your business plan is your first step to getting organised. It should include your concept, a sales strategy, your finance model and how you’re going to reach world domination! Don’t worry, it can start out rough – we don’t have to know everything at this point. Just make sure to keep it regularly updated and use it as your map for success!
2:00 pm: Source Your Funds
It’s important to be realistic about finances right from the word go. As you’re not yet profitable, you’re going to need to cover set-up costs such as premises fees, insurance and stock expenses. It may seem daunting but don’t fret! There are plenty of funding options available, from small business loans to government grants to fundraising platforms such as Crowdfunder. Speak to a financial advisor if you’re unsure of how to go forward.
4:30 pm: Look for Partners, Suppliers and Distributors
Even if you’re flying solo with no immediate plan for hiring employees, you might still need to work with others from time to time. Working with a partner can be beneficial to your business, especially if they can bring something to the pot that you can’t. If you’re selling a product, suppliers and distributors are essential. Write up a list of potential companies and give them a ring for an estimate.
6:30 pm: Register Your Business
Having a registered business makes all the difference if you want to establish yourself as a professional in your industry. To operate in the UK, visit Companies House online where you can choose a legal structure, register your name and find out what tax regulations your business will adhere to, plus loads more useful information.
7:30 pm: Licence Your Business
Depending on the nature of your business, you may need a licence for things such as alcohol, software or data protection. Check to see if you require a licence and if you do, apply for it as soon as possible to save any hiccups down the line.
8:30 pm: Create a Marketing Plan
Marketing is key for pulling in the business, so make sure to have a solid plan of action. Think about your target audience and where to find them, establish your marketing goals, consider your budget and identify which marketing tools would best suit your business (social media, email marketing, print marketing, etc.).
10:00 pm: Set Up a Basic Website
You don’t have to be a web developer to build a basic website, simply buy your domain name and check out the wealth of step-by-step guides online. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look fancy or if the design isn’t quite how you imagined; the most important thing at this stage is that clients have a base to visit. You can always go back and re-develop it later.
11:00 pm: Prep for Print
Now you have a web address where customers can find you, it’s a good time to think about which print materials you’ll use to promote your business. Flyers, booklets and posters are great for spreading the word locally, and for networking opportunities, opt for an eye-catching set of business cards to help you stand out from the crowd.
11:59 pm: Celebrate!
Give yourself a huge pat on the back because YOU DID IT! You’ve taken those vital first steps to building a business and that’s a HUGE achievement! Now you’re on a roll – keep going! Wake up tomorrow, get to work and don’t forget to celebrate every small victory along the way. If you stick to your guns and work hard, you’ll soon start to see the results. Today is just the beginning.