Got A Business Start Up Idea? 8 Points To Consider Before You Launch*



*This is a collaborative post*


A business more often than not starts with an idea or a desire to solve a problem. Perhaps this is the case for some of you reading this. Or perhaps you're just sick of working for someone else and dream of the day that you can quit the rat race. Whatever the reason, if you want to start up your own business then there are a few factors you'd be wise to consider before taking the plunge. 


What Will Your Business Be?


It sounds obvious but you need to come up with a product or service that will sell. Perhaps you'd like to start up a small business but have no idea where to begin? Look at what your hobbies are or where your talents lie. If you enjoy writing then a blog is a great little side earner and has scope to become much more. If your talent is in crafts then you might consider making gifts for special occasions. Whatever you come up with, the product or service needs to be beneficial or of value to your customers. 

Learn A New Skill If Needed


If your goal is to launch a business in an industry that you know not much about or if you don't have the skill set required, don't be put off. No-one was ever born knowing how to do everything. Self teaching is an option especially given the wonder that is the internet and YouTube. There are videos on almost any and everything from makeup tutorials to making jewellery. If you don't have easy access to the internet then there are also magazines and books available which can help teach many new skills. Don't rule out night school either as many colleges run part time courses in evenings. Don't let anyone deter you if you have a dream!


What Is Your End Goal?



Let's not beat around the bush here, obviously you want to make an income from your business and there's nothing wrong with that, we all need to make a living. But your ultimate goal should be providing a quality service or product that will be of benefit and value to your customers. Remember that happy customers will return to you and of course through the gift that is word of mouth, you'll hopefully gain new business leads!

Focus. Create A Business Plan


Ideally before starting up your business you should first create a business plan. At the very least you should write a list of your goals, long and short term, with a plan of how you can realistically reach each. Your business plan will help you to stay focused and to see where you're going. It will also help to highlight any areas where work is needed.


Get Organised & Keep Records


Organisation is paramount as you'll soon realise once your business is in full swing. Take blogging for instance, I have paperwork, notes, emails, invoices, and goodness knows what else scattered around my work area. When it came to completing my very first tax self assessment I found it shall we say, difficult, to work out whether I was coming or going. Absolute nightmare and lesson learned. Keeping everything in it's rightful place or coming up with a system will make life much easier and will also help you to prioritize your workload. No-one wants to miss a deadline!


Check Out The Competition - Stay Ahead Of The Game



Check out your competition to see what they're doing as well as to see what you're up against. What makes your business unique? If it's not that unique then don't worry, simply work on a way you can make it more so. In the fast paced world in which we live you need to stay ahead of your game. Take the time to really get to know your industry inside out whether this be the blogosphere or other and try to be as innovative and original as you can be. 

Learn what marketing and PR techniques work for you. Many well known brands have jumped onto the latest bandwagon that is 'Influencer Marketing.' Hiring an influencer to promote a product on for instance Instagram can prove costly yes, but in terms of effectiveness you can't really knock it. After all, Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms going so it's no wonder brands are jumping all over this trend.


Don't Be Invisible. Make Use Of PR & Marketing


Speaking of marketing and PR, when you do start up your business you'll want people to notice your brand so you should use these tools to your advantage. You could have the most amazing product in the world but if you don't nudge your way out there and get it seen, it's unlikely people will buy it. Of course this doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with your product, rather it's just that competition for business is fierce.

Marketing is all about promoting and selling your product or service. Public relations is all about creating and maintaining a healthy relationship between your business and the customer. In layman's terms, PR is all about gaining the customers approval of your brand. You might not think that this is hugely important but many people will and do prefer to buy from businesses that they like, trust and respect. Effective PR will not just help to build and manage healthy relations but it will also increase the credibility of your business and will help to gain you more exposure.

Many business owners manage their own PR and marketing which is great and commendable, but if you feel the need to outsource or hire help then you can find many PR professionals like Nancy Behrman on hand ready and willing to take your business to the next level. Nancy Behrman is an expert in all things PR and as president of Behrman Communications she has built a successful career in the public relations and brand building sector. She certainly knows the value of effective PR and has herself transformed even small concepts into successful multi million dollar ventures. 

Of course you don't have to bother with PR and marketing but if you want your business to be successful then it's highly advisable that you incorporate these two factors into your business plan.


Continuity, Consistency & Hard Work Pay Off


No-one ever became a true success over night. Know and understand that it will take time, patience, hard work and consistency before you'll see results. 
It's also a good idea to give yourself an incentive to work towards. Treat yourself to something every time you reach a target. Don't do as I did and become a complete workaholic because all work and no play is definitely no fun at all. The key is to find balance between your work and personal life. 

Lastly, a phrase I learnt from my manager, 'Plan, Do, Review.' Don't be afraid to try new things and in the same breath if something doesn't work, don't be afraid to put it to the scrap heap. In the first year of business a lot of it is trial and error. I'm still in the process of becoming the ultimate girl boss but stick with me and who knows where I'll be in a few years time! 

Do you dream of launching your own business? Go for it. You only live once! :)



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