Accord to a government advisory paper ,”the UK is one of the best places in the world to run a business.”
Perhaps then it is not surprising that the aspiration to run a business is increasing, particularly amongst the younger generation. Part of this is down to recent interest in TV shows like “Dragon’s Den” and “The Apprentice” which have been around since 2005. Unfortunately their ‘high-drama’ formats do not always give a realistic view of what it means to be start and run a business.
With that in mind, here’s our top tips if you are considering starting a business.
1) Emulate a businessman. Find someone in a similar business and copy them. If they are “feeling up skyscrapers” (to coin a phrase from the movie “Layer Cake”), there will be loads written about them, how they think and what makes them tick. If they are in the less glamorous but equally rewarding world of smaller businesses, grab them for a coffee. You may know them through family and friends already.
2) Write a business plan, but don’t rely on it. We are in the process of setting up a micro-brewery at Evans House, so the whole process from buying supplies to the beer being sold and drunk must be sketched out. Once you have all of these steps, ask yourself ‘can I do all of these steps?’ If not, can you learn or do you know someone who can who could work with you (an employee, contractor or advisor for example)? Once you have overcome this hurdle (it should take you a fair bit of time to do); burn it. I can guarantee that pretty much nothing will go to plan, therefore you either constantly update the plan (which is a waste of time in my opinion) or learn to react to the challenges with the base-line knowledge you already have.
3) Identify who your ideal customers are. Their age, gender and background and why they might buy from you and not from someone else. This will help you decide on your niche market and USP (unique selling point).
4) Develop a network of like-minded people to gather information. Working for yourself can be isolating at times so it is really worthwhile connecting with others in a similar situation and sharing ideas and experiences.
5) Don’t tell everyone you are going to be a millionaire. I have met many aspiring businessmen who have grand designs in life. They all have one thing in common; they are absolute bulls***ers and everyone will avoid them like the plague. Try getting credit from a business supplier or bank with that reputation.
6) Stick to the basics. It’s easy to forget day to day when everything is going wrong and everyone is demanding your attention what you are supposed to be doing. The better planned you are, the better can react to these issues. When it gets a bit tough, remember the ‘4 D’s’, which are ‘do’, ‘defer’, ‘delegate’ and ‘delete’. If a task pops up that can be done quickly or is urgent, ‘do’ it. If it can wait, ‘defer’ it to when you have time to deal with it properly. If someone else can do it, ‘delegate it’. If it does not actually require your attention, ‘delete’ it. I find that having 4 email folders with these titles helps organise my week.
7) Plod. If you push yourself too hard, you will simply burn out. If you do nothing, tasks will simply pile up and you will fail. Best to set yourself simple tasks and perform them for a minimum amount of time per day/week. For example, I hate doing accounts, but if I spend one day a week ensuring they are up to speed, I don’t get bogged down with them.
8) If it ain’t making me money, forget it. You will often be distracted or unwilling to do an important task central to your business because of tasks which in the grand scheme of things won’t make you a penny; so don’t do what isn’t central to making you money. For example, why waste time spending hours choosing business cards. No-one wants business cards these days. If you disagree, think when was the last time that you got a number you wanted to remember and thought, ‘you know what, I know we have mobile phones that can store thousands of contact details, but I just want to carry around a small piece of card representing everyone I know.’ Burned!
9) There is more than one way so skin a cat. There is often an attitude of a right and wrong way to do things. In my opinion, this is not correct, as there are different business models that function well in different ways. There is no right answer. Whatever decisions you take (whether that be what bog roll to put in customer toilets, or which interest rate bank loan you will accept), weigh up the pros and cons, make a decision and live with it.
10) Have (some) fun. Doing something you learn to hate very quickly will kill your soul a little every day. I should know, I’m a solicitor. Try and pick something you’ll like and stay interested.
And now the shamless plug...
If you are interested in starting a business in the Warrington of the North West .generally and need a premises to work from, please feel free to contact us on 01825 411170 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Evans House's Blog author likes the sound of his own voice and couldn't find his a**e with both hands.