What You Need to Start a New Business

If you have decided to start a new business rather than pick up an existing one, you are in for a treat. When you start a brand new business, it will be both serious and fun. You will need to thoroughly prepare yourself so you can hit the ground running and ensure that your new business is compliant and legitimate so that you give it every chance to be successful. There is also going to be the exciting side of it, where you will get to choose the idea and create the service or product, have fun and get creative with all the branding and marketing, network with others in your industry, hire new people to help you, and much more. You must understand a business is a serious venture to undertake, but you should also try to make it fun, as that will help you continue going when times get tough. 

To run a successful business, you need to have all the right things in place to make it official, marketing strategies to help people find your business, as well as the skills to keep a business running, make important decisions and adapt to evolving situations. You will need to start right at the beginning with market research and product or service development, finding your target audience and figuring out your brand. Then you will have to move on to the serious activities that will make it official. It can seem difficult and overwhelming at first, but if you break down the activities into individual steps, you will be able to make a plan and give yourself a roadmap of where you are going. You will also then have a to-do list of things you need to get going. To help you get started with creating a new business, here are some important things that you need to know. 

The business idea 

Your idea is going to be the bread and butter of your business. 

If you don’t have an idea yet, you will need to conduct research into trends and markets that you might want to get involved with. Alternatively, you might want to think about a range of problems that people face on a day-to-day basis and come up with your solution in the form of a service, or product. 

When you have an idea, you will have to refine it. You should first conduct research into the market and the industry, so you can learn about your potential competitors. This will help you to better understand what you are getting yourself into and if it is the right business for you personally to pursue. You will also be able to learn about your potential competitors' product or service, what is going well, what are their weaknesses as a business, what are the product or service weaknesses, what gaps need to be filled in the industry, and more. 

You cannot copy them, but you can learn from them and consider what you can be doing better, to make your business successful and competitive in the market. More often than not, it isn’t about creating something brand new and reinventing the wheel, but finding ideas that are in demand and that you can improve, and better help customers with. However, if you have found a problem that isn’t being solved by other businesses and you can create something solid, you may just be on to a winning idea. If this is the case, you will need to do a lot of research and you should consider some focus groups, so you can test out your product or service to ensure it is going to work as you want it to. 

Understand your why

All business owners need to consider why they are doing what they are doing. Why do you want to start a business? Why do you want to solve the problems with your product or service? You should be clear about these, as it will help you when you inevitably feel lost or frustrated in your business. It will also help when it comes to your branding, messaging, marketing and if you decide to get investors involved. There needs to be passion in what you do. You should combine your idea and your reason to create a business plan. As you learn more about your business, you can use this to complete the business plan. 

Define your target audience 

Many people will make the mistake of believing in their idea so much that they feel like they don’t need to think about their customers and will just launch their business randomly and hope for the best. However, this can be detrimental to your business and waste a lot of time and effort. It is important that you take time to define your target audience and why they would want to buy from you. This will ensure that you develop a product or service that caters to their needs and problems and resonates with them. You will need to think of them specifically, and to help this, many businesses will create an avatar. You will need specific demographics, including their age, occupation, location, interests, problems, etc. This is because, for example, your messaging and branding will be very different if you are advertising to 18-25-year-olds than 60-75-year-olds. When you consider your demographics in all of your activities, from product and service development to marketing, you will be able to speak to your ideal customers on a personal level, which will help them find you, connect with you and choose your business over your competitors. 

Good and consistent branding

Branding is an important aspect that will require time and budget. You need to think about how you can positively reflect your product or service and mission into your branding. You want to quickly tell people what you are about while making it relevant and interesting. It should be memorable. The colours, symbols and other aspects of your branding should be used throughout everything you do, from your packaging to your marketing to ensure there is consistency and customers can get familiar with you and learn to recognise you. Customers will need to see your brand and content quite a lot of times before they become familiar and start to enquire. This is why it is important to figure out your branding right at the beginning. It can change and evolve in the future as your business grows, but it is best not to keep changing it at first as you try to get your business known to people.

Effective marketing strategies 

Marketing your business is going to be the next important step. Without an effective marketing strategy, you will not be able to drive customers to your business. Depending on your initial budget, you might be wearing multiple hats and doing the marketing yourself. This can be easy enough to learn, but it will take a lot of work to get started, especially if you have no prior knowledge. However, there are many resources online to help you learn. You can use websites such as Canva to create social media content and Hootsuite to schedule posts. You can use an online printer to get your flyers, business cards and merchandise. 

If you have the budget, then you may consider hiring a marketing company or at least a freelancer who has the skills and knowledge to help you get your business off the ground. Make sure your marketing includes your branding, and you are consistent with your activity. Customers will value consistency. It will not only help them remember you, but it will also show that you are reliable. This will help to build up your reputation and start to drive customers straight to you. 

Marketing efforts may include a website that you drive organic and paid traffic to using search engine optimisation tactics and paid advertising. You can also utilise social media platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and Twitter. All have a variety of benefits that can be free to use (apart from paid advertising, which you can utilise if you have the budget and skills to do so). The specific marketing platforms and strategies that you will use will depend on the industry in which you create your business, the type of product or service that you create, as well as the needs of your target audience. You shouldn’t just spread yourself thin and try to make yourself visible to them all. Instead, you should find out where your ideal customers are hanging out and how you can make an impact there. 

Make your business official 

Once all of the background details are set in stone, you must make your business official. Check online to ensure that you know what you need to do, as this will vary depending on what country you are registering your website. In the UK, you will need to register for things like tax on the Government website. You may also need permits, licences and insurance. 

There is a lot to think about when you start a new business. Follow these top tips to help you hit the ground running.

*Contributed by Sam Jones. Photo Image credit

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