Whether you’d like to work from home, make money online or even create a booming worldwide business, the thought of leaving behind your day job can be a little bit overwhelming. That’s why we’ve created this guide filled with handy tips on how you can start a business without giving up your day job. From coming up with a great business idea to keeping up to date with all the latest news and recognising new business opportunities, we’ll show you how you can still be a great entrepreneur or freelancer in your spare time.
- Come Up with a Winning Business Idea
Great business ideas all come from the same place: problems. If you start viewing the world around you through a problem-solving lens, you’re more likely to find a solution (AKA, a fantastic startup business idea). Anything that’s confusing, frustrating or where you think ‘I can do this better!’ – go for it; explore these ideas more until you’ve figured out the perfect solution. For example, we recognised the complexity of the print industry for small business owners. With all the industry jargon surrounding the process and then having to wait ages to receive your print, we knew there had to be a better way. That’s why our goal is to make printing quicker and easier so we can help our customers to reach out to their customers and flourish as a consequence.
Don’t just think about what you find frustrating; what kinds of things do the people close to you, your friends and family, complain about? Look online, on social media and forums, where people are discussing everyday issues and debating their own ideas. You can find inspiration for a fantastic business idea all around you!
- Develop a Solid Business Plan
A business plan is a document outlining your business goals and how you’ll reach them, why they’re achievable and how you’ll measure your success. If you’re planning on seeking out investors to fund your startup, your lenders are definitely going to want to see this document. So, what should you include in a business plan?
- You should open your business plan with an executive summary, describing briefly what your business aims to do. This is the first thing a potential investor will see, so make sure it’s effective!
- Next, go on to describe your business’ background, why you chose this goal to focus on, what your product/service/solution is and its unique selling points (USPs).
- This leads really nicely onto how your product fits into the market – why customers will buy your product instead of your competitors’.
- Then answer the question: how will your business operate on a day-to-day basis?
- Who are the people who’ll help run your business? At this point it might just be you, but you’ll need a management team when your idea really takes off so include them if you’ve got them. Also make sure to include your own background information, including previous experience and training.
- Include your financial forecasts too – what funds will you require? How much revenue do you expect each year?
For more advice on creating your own business plan, Bplans have got loads of free downloadable business plan templates for a range of different industries you can use for inspiration. Or, check out startuploan’s templates and top tips on writing a business plan that have been put together by their Business Advisors.
- Take Advantage of Training Opportunities
One of the great things about starting a business alongside your day job is that you can still take advantage of training opportunities in your current workplace. A lot of the skills you’ll need to develop and strengthen can be nurtured in your day job – such as being goal-focused, people management skills, productivity, networking and even knowing how to close a sale. Make sure you go on as many training courses at work as you can and, even if what you’re doing now isn’t what you want to be doing forever, work hard to build up those all-important transferable skills you’ll need to run your own business.
If you’d like even more opportunity for self-development, why not make the most of the free resources available online? There are hundreds of good quality online training courses you can enrol on for free – in fact, so many that you might not know where to start! If that’s the case, check out our top 6 essential free courses for the budding entrepreneur.
- Don’t Compete with Your Current Employer
One of the reasons for keeping your day job is for a sense of security, right? So make sure you don’t jeopardise that security by competing with the company you work for! Depending on what you agreed to in your contract, you may not be able to use information regarding the business affairs of the company you currently work for, which would be hard to comply with if you’re a direct competitor. If you’d like to know more about the risks involved in doing this and what the most common legal claims made against an ex-employee in situations such as this are, then check out this article by inc.com.
- Start Saving for Your Startup Funds
To run a business, you’ll need to invest some money into your idea to begin with. Whether that’s to create your product or service, to advertise online or to recruit your first employees, there are a few options when it comes to funding your new startup business if you don’t have enough money saved up for self-funding:
- Government loan – here in the UK, you can access finance and support for your business through the government website and apply online for a startup loan of £500-£25,000. If your application is successful, you can also receive guidance for writing your business plan and 12 months of free mentoring.
- Bank loan – although banks may be reluctant to lend money to a business without a proven track record, you don’t have to give up equity (shares) in your business. You can apply for loans with banks such as Barclays for up to £100,000 and if you apply for less than £25,000 you don’t have to pay anything back for the first 6 months until you’re on your feet.
- Crowdfunding – this route into funding is becoming increasingly popular. This is where a business owner will ask a lot of people such as friends, family and even social media followers, for just a little bit of money. The UK Crowdfunding website has a great list of websites you can use for crowdfunding.
- Business angels and other investors – although angel investors will invest significantly higher amounts into your business than you might find in other routes into funding, they’ll want shares in your business too. If you do decide to use this method, check out our guide on how to create an impressive investor pitch to make sure you nail it first time.
Make sure you research each funding option and also that you persevere – finding the right kind of loan for you and your business might take some time, especially since you’ll be working a lot of hours already for your current job.
- Find a Work-Life Balance and Manage Your Time
Running a business at the same time as working your day job means goodbye 9-5 and hello working weekends! With all this extra work, when are you supposed to find time for your personal life? We’ve already explored how overworking yourself can actually have the opposite effect than what you’d like and put your business into a slump, so it’s important to set some boundaries from the get go.
A great way of doing this is by implementing a self-care strategy or plan into your weekly or daily routine. This means listening to what your body needs to stay healthy. As abstract as self-care sounds, you actually already know what you should be doing to stay healthy and look after yourself anyway: exercising, eating well, spending some time socialising with others and just getting a bit of fresh air. So, work out when you can fit time in for yourself in your new busy schedule and it’ll not only benefit you, but your new business as well!
- Network with Existing Connections You’ve Already Made*
*Unless at a networking function for your current job – this would definitely rub your boss up the wrong way just like running a competing business would!
Chances are, you’ve met a lot of people already during your working life. Why not use this previous experience and your previous acquaintances to your advantage? Would they be interested in your new business? If so, get in contact! Don’t stop attending networking events when you’re available outside of your current job though. It’s also really important to always make sure you’re carrying Business Cards whenever you leave the house; you never know who you’ll bump into throughout the day. When it comes to running a successful business, who you know is really important.
- Get Ready to Launch Your Business and Go Full Time
Think you’re ready to launch your venture and go full time? From initial market research to creating a scalable business model, double check everything’s in order before you take the plunge! And good luck from instantprint!