Don’t just start-up…..stay up !
It is very popular to want to be your own boss and start up in business. Working for yourself has many positives, freedom, flexibility; being the boss and doing something you love doing. But running your own business is not right for everyone, you will need family support, be prepared to invest time and energy, be self motivated, have bucket loads of tenacity and ability to review your progress and adapt as needed.
If you have an idea of what you want to do, here are a few points you might want to think about before taking the plunge:
Ask yourself whether you are passionate about what the business is about?
• You will have strengths and weaknesses in your own skill set – so you will need to identify those gaps and think about how they will be overcome. If the business is just going to be you to start with, then any weaknesses that you have may also be weaknesses in your business.
• Research your idea. There is great, free support at most local libraries or the specialist business libraries in London such as City Business Library. Find out about databases of potential customers, suppliers and competitors you will need to look into. Research trade magazines and stories. Consider reviewing Census information to determine whether enough of the audience you are targeting live in the place where you are setting up the business.
• Test trade your idea. Asking your Mum if she likes your idea is not enough evidence to take the plunge. Even stopping strangers and asking questions from a clipboard may not get accurate enough answers. Test trading could be working on your business in your spare time, setting up a website or eBay store, car boot sale, craft fair, market stall or pop up shop. This process will provide you with evidence, via cash in your till, as to what the market in that area will support…and what it will not.
Practice delivering your message about what your business is all about in a simple way through Pitching practice – NatWest Pitch is our free app that can help with this https://www.business.natwest.com/business/Boost.html
Surround yourself with other like minded people to learn from and work with. It can be a lonely time but there will be so many people working through the same challenges as you.
Most importantly make sure that you fall in love with your customers problem, not you solution to it as you research and consider exactly what business you will launch.
Having got to this stage if you are still passionate about your idea then it is vital to consider how the business, when fully launched, is likely to work. Do this initially using a business model canvas to ensure that you are not simply launching what you wanted, but crucially having ideas validated by what the market says, competitors do and stakeholders suggest. Just ahead of test trading, when things are much clearer in terms of exactly what you are launching, then completing a full business plan is a strong suggestion. Templates can be found https://www.business.natwest.com/business/Boost/business-matters/starting-a-business/business-planning/business-plans.html
It is easy to open a business in the UK. However the businesses that thrive and last are those that take the time before launching to truly understanding their product, market, customer, operations and ambitions.
There are lots of ways that NatWest Business is working to help its business community see https://www.business.natwest.com/business/Boost.html