Running your own business can be a tricky prospect, especially if you have to balance it with student life. However, if successful the rewards will often outweigh the drawbacks. That said, we thought it would be worthwhile to include some top tips, tricks and general advice, so you can potentially avoid any pitfalls along your journey to becoming a business guru.
Start at the beginning
Behind every good business is a strong business plan; research and plan, research and plan. To ensure a successful launch you’ll need to eat, breathe and sleep your research and planning in the pre-launch phase. As this is where you will (hopefully) uncover unforeseen issues, monitor competitor activity and also forecast your future growth. Naturally these plans will change once the business is launched, but it’s such a vital step, it shouldn’t be overlooked.
Free money for your start up! Whilst it may sound like an online scam, the government in the UK does offer funding for start-ups (both in the form of loans & grants). Sure you’ll need to meet the set criteria, but without a doubt it’s worth looking at.
Protect your idea
If you think you’re onto a real winner, then you would be crazy not to cover yourself legally. Protecting your intellectual property will be vital in ensuring your business is a success. If you launch your business without full legal coverage it’s almost a dead cert that another company with more financial backing than you, will come in and build upon all your hard work and profit from your idea.
Make use of the internet
There’s an abundance of free ways you can market your business online, think social media, Google Business, etc. However, the biggest way to improve your start-up chances is by getting your own little corner on the World Wide Web. Now, this may sound daunting, but don’t be scared! With a range of websites that have been created to assist you with building your own website, it’s easier than you think. It’s therefore a cost effective way of building an online presence which in turn could dramatically improve your chances of success.
Now we’ve covered some of the do’s, let’s look at the don’ts. Below is a list of the common pitfalls when starting your own business:
- Competing on price and just the price. Don’t forget to give your customers a great customer experience, as it will boost your brand loyalty and earn you that all important repeat business.
- Here’s a difficult one… we all applaud ambition, but being unrealistic could cripple your business. You need to operate within your means to ensure steady and manageable growth.
- Picking a niche market that’s too small. Finding a gap in the market is one thing, finding a gap in the market that actually warrants being filled is another ballpark. Don’t pigeon hole yourself into a gap which exists because there’s no need to fill it.
- Not adhering to your brand guidelines. You want your consumers to identify your brand, right? Then stick to your brand guidelines. It’ll be worth it.
It’s reported that every year in the United Kingdom over half a million people start a business of their own, following the above steps could give you the edge in ensuring that your business is one of the successful ones.