Starting a business
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Starting a business can be life-changing, and there’s a lot to think about. From your business idea and the commercial viability, to securing funding and managing resources. And that’s where we come in.
We have a wealth of business knowledge and startup experience to help you start your own business.
But, just to be clear here – starting a business isn’t easy. There’s no quick path to success and, being brutally honest, even with the best will in the world, that statistics say you’ll probably fail. Shit sales pitch that, isn’t it?
Well, you’re still reading so maybe we haven’t put you off? Then, here are the main steps that you’ll need to follow to start your new business:
- Come up with a business idea
- Research your market
- (Maybe) write a business plan
- Secure funding
- Start trading
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How to start a business
Many people talk about starting a business like it’s something that you wake up and do one day. But it’s actually a process, not an action. Think of it as the combination of lots of small decisions made over time.
There are a lot of different aspects to think of, but don’t worry. You don’t have to think about everything at once. However, there is a logical order in the priorities you need to consider and here’s how it goes…
1. Come up with a business idea
What is your business going to be? What problem is it solving, or what niche is it filling? Your business idea is the seed from which your whole business will grow. Take time to consider the essence of the business you want to start.
Are you planning a small startup, or do you want to be the next big thing? Answering these questions will help you understand and prepare for the road.
2. Research the market
Once you have a clear idea of what your business is, you need to understand the market that it will be joining. Market research is crucial to prepare you for the reality of the competition, customer needs and what you’ll be up against.
Investing time in thorough research can be the difference between success and failure. Ask lots of questions, be curious and see what useful information you can dig up about your potential customers and your competitors. Then build all of your learnings into your business plan.
3. (Maybe) Write a business plan
Your business plan is the blueprint for your whole business and will set out a lot of the details for the future. A well-written, thoroughly-researched business plan will massively increase your chances of success.
Writing a business plan will help you:
- Determine whether your business idea is a commercially viable
- Estimate your start-up costs and how much funding you’ll need
- Win the support of investors and gain other funding
- Plan an effective marketing strategy
- Anticipate potential problems and consider solutions ahead of time
It’s not that having a business plan is do or die (it isn’t, loads of successful businesses start without them) but it’s just such a good way to get you thinking through the aspects of starting and running a business that you might never have considered. It may also be helpful to evaluate your ideas using SWOT analysis to help determine where the biggest opportunities are with the lowest risk.
4. Secure funding
Funding is the lifeblood of a new business. You’ll need money to pay the bills, hire a team, scale the business, and much more. That means you need to secure sufficient funding to get you off the ground – which might be as simple as just saving up enough money to cover however many months of running your business – a runway.
The type of funding will depend on your business. You might be eligible for a startup grant, or need a business loan or want to crowdfund. To find out more about the options read our guide to funding for startups.
5. Start trading
You’ve done the research and written your plan. Now it’s time to start trading and make your business idea a reality. Put your marketing hat on and start raising your business profile to reach your future customers.
Get started with some of our marketing ideas for startups and check out our 7 tips to help launch your startup faster.
Should you start a business with your own money?
Many people do look to their personal finances to fund their new business idea. It will probably depend on the level of finance you need, your financial circumstances and what you want for your business going forwards . You need to consider whether you want to have the final say on business decisions, or would you benefit from the sort of mentorship that having an investor sometimes offers? Check out our business finance hub for more support.
You can’t put a price on the value of a good support system. Whether that’s friends and family, a business mentor or your own research and resources. Whatever stage you’re at with your business, there’s a wealth of business support out there to help you achieve your goals.
But, you needn’t really look any further, because we’ve already built it for you.
Can I start a business with no money?
Maybe. It will depend on the type of business you’re planning to start. If it’s a small service-based business then it’s certainly possible that you might be able to start with no start-up costs. If you’re starting a product-based business then you’re going to need an initial investment to start manufacturing.
Read our guide to starting a business with no funding.
How do I start a small business?
The first step for any business is having a clear idea and putting together a thorough business plan. You need to think about the different elements of the business and be prepared. If you’re not creating a physical product then starting a business might be easier than you think.
Find out more in our guide to starting a small business.
What's the best business to start?
There’s no one right answer for starting a business. The best businesses are built upon a foundation of passion, preparation and a strong commercial idea. The best business for you to start will depend on your own skill set, interests and opportunities.
How do you start a business online?
Starting any kind of business, whether online or offline, requires many of the same steps in terms of finding out who your customers and competitors are, creating a business plan and sourcing funding if needed. Take a look at our online business ideas and steps to getting started.
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