Top Tips for Starting a Successful Business
The decision to “go it alone” in business can be the most daunting but then again, the most rewarding decision in the world.
I was recently approached by a close friend who was beginning a new business venture after years of secure and well-paid employment. My friend asked if I had any tips or advice for him.
This got me thinking of my own career accountancy over the last 20 years advising owner managed businesses. Here are my tips for starting a successful business.
- Know what your customer wants and needs. Research is a vital part of starting any new venture and arguably the most vital part of any business is the end customer. Be sure that that there is a want or need for your product.
- Develop relationships via networking. Attending networking events can be a valuable exercise. You need to ensure the networking events will be relevant for your field of business and you will be bumping into fellow minded business people. Often events such as these can assist you by bumping into experienced successful business individuals whom have tread the path that you will be attempting to negotiate. Experienced individuals such as these can provide valuable feedback and advise on progressing your business.
- Study your competitors – Taking an interest into your competitors can provide valuable insight. You can learn from their mistakes but also from their successes
- Get your name out there! Social media obviously offers great opportunities for this. A simple “like and share” campaign on Facebook for example can provide the business with valuable advertising and alert others to your presence and potential business they can do with you.
- Speak to your accountant, utilise them effectively. Your accountant can often provide you with valuable advice on financing your business but can also provide valuable insight on for example your cashflow projections and assumptions. Having an accountant review such items can reduce the chance of any potentially nasty shocks in future.
- Focus on the bigger picture and try not to get bogged down in little non-quintessential matters. Accountants can be valuable in freeing up time from those admin tasks which use up your valuable time for example running a simple payroll or preparing VAT returns leaving you to concentrate on the most important matter of pushing business forward.
- Forge a close knit and trusted team. This need not be such a pricey exercise. Taking on an apprentice or junior staff members can bring vibrancy, enthusiasm and ideas. For more experienced members of staff ensure they are adequately qualified to provide you with advice on running the business so you don’t receive duff advice.
- Be careful on discounting services or goods just to achieve sales. If you find yourself having to do this ensure firstly this is not counterproductive to the running of the business but you get something in return for example quicker payment period or confirmed future sales.
- We are all always learning. Be sure to stand back and assess what has gone well on previous sales and not get so rushed that you have no idea in what direction the business is heading in. Consider meeting up with your accountants say every three to six months and not just at the year-end or worse still months after that point. Often inefficiencies in the running of your business can be spotted at an early stage. The sooner these are acted on, the better!