When it comes to launching your small business, there are many things that you need to think about. If you have never been in business before, it can be pretty difficult to navigate, and you need to go into your new startup with some basic knowledge about how to run things. If you go in unprepared, you risk facing difficulties along the way which could have easily been avoided.
Of course, there is no ‘right’ way to run a business. Every business is different, and the way that you go about things will depend upon the services that you are providing, how big your company is, and what sector you are trading in. However, there are some simple questions to ask yourself, to ensure that you’re on the right path no matter what you are doing, and we’ve noted them down here for those first time business owners!
Am I passionate about this?
There is one simple way to make sure that you are ready to launch your small business, and it is to ask yourself whether you are passionate about what you’re actually doing. If you don’t care much for the services you’re providing, or you’re only doing it for money, you may want to re-evaluate the sector that you’re going into. The best businesses are based upon passion, and creating a brand that is fuelled by people who care, so make sure that you fall into this category to avoid a pretty much certain failure. This will take up so many hours of your life, so you need to enjoy it!
Do I know what sets me apart from others?
Another thing to make sure of before you launch your small business is that you know what distinguishes you from all of your competitors. If you think that you will provide something that is already out there, then you may want to rethink this. If your brand is going to be memorable, it has to be because of something striking. Perhaps you offer something similar to others, but you want to take it down a new, more sustainable route? Consumers love something new, especially if it pushes the normal boundaries of business, so don’t just follow the crowd if you’re looking for success.
Have I listened to the other business owners I know?
As we’ve mentioned before, we understand that your business is totally unique. Of course, the way that you act as a business will depend on a lot of factors, and there is no one route for everybody. However, as a new business owner, you would be doing yourself a favor by listening to those that you know, and most importantly, learning from their mistakes. This saves you a lot of time and money, so make sure to be pretty clever when you speak to these people, to pick up as many tips as possible. If you don’t know any other business owners, it would be a good idea to network beforehand!
Have I taken on a task that is too big?
A lot of the time, businesses fall at the first hurdle because people have taken on tasks that they just can’t handle. When you’re first starting out, you need to make sure that you’re not biting off more than you can chew, as this could actually lead to your demise. Focus on a few things, and see how they go. You can always take on more jobs, but it can be difficult to go down to less once you’ve signed contracts with clients. Make sure that the jobs you have accepted aren’t too much for your team, either, as you need them in these first few months and they may think that you’re piling on the pressure.
Do I have enough knowledge to succeed?
Another question to ask yourself before you start your company is whether you have enough knowledge to survive in business. This doesn’t necessarily have to be education-wise, and some people just have the practical skills that they have culminated from working in big companies, but look into your options if you want to learn a little more before you start out as an entrepreneur. In the modern age, you can do a 100% online MBA if you don’t have time to go through the entire college experience, and it will help to set you up for the success that you want and need.
Have I got the funding covered?
Starting up a business is an expensive game, and not having your funding covered could be something else that presents a lot of issues for you and your team. Whilst some people fund their business endeavours with their own money, it is a lot more likely that you will rely on loans and other modes of funding to get you through the first few years. However you do this, you need to come up with a detailed plan on your spending, to ensure that you have enough for all elements of your business. You don’t want to go bust as soon as you begin, so get your finances in order.
Have I planned out every detail?
Another thing that can make or break a business is the planning behind it, and if you go into it feeling pretty confused, the results aren’t going to be great. When it comes to planning, you should be looking ahead to the next year at least, but equally, you should plan out your schedule down to a weekly basis. Not only will this help your team to join in on your vision, but it will help you to ensure that you’re making the progress that you should be making. Businesses rarely succeed with a poorly organized boss at the helm, so lead by example, and make sure that you’ve nailed your planning.
Do I have some great people behind me?
As any business owner will tell you, a startup is largely defined by the strength and motivation of the team behind it. If you have employees that aren’t really interested in your company and are in it with you just because you’re paying them, you may want to re-evaluate who you’ve taken on board. Of course, your team are never going to give as much as you, because it is your business, but they should show a certain degree of passion for what you’re doing. These types of people will be the ones to come up with ideas to push you forward, so don’t underestimate how important they are.
Do I have a business ethos?
From the very beginning of your time as a business owner, you should have some principles that guide what you do. If you’re going to make an impact upon people, and you want to look as professional as possible, you need to decide what your values are (and you also need to stick to them). Are you going to have a business that is carbon neutral and eco-friendly, or will you pride yourself on always putting people first in your company? Whatever it is that you’re passionate about – and whatever your customers will love – you need to note down, and promote it as the basis of your company whenever you can.
Am I ready to make mistakes?
As soon as you go into business, you’re going to make mistakes. This is completely natural, and it will allow you to learn things about how your company should work in the future. There is no business owner out there who can profess to have nailed everything on the first run, so don’t be fooled into thinking that you’re the only one out there who is getting things wrong. If you’re going to have a business that is successful (albeit one that makes mistakes now and again) you need to accept that this is going to happen, and you also need to learn how to dust yourself off and get back to it.
Am I ready to learn a lot?
Finally, there are many great positives to running a business. You will meet some wonderful and clever people, you will share ideas that may even change the world, and you will provide services that change the way that people live their lives. There is nothing better than knowing that your hard work – and your great ideas – have shaped the world around you, and it is worth every second of your time, no matter how difficult it may be. You need to go into business with the attitude that every day is an opportunity to learn something new, and you should also make the effort to keep this in mind every day!
If you’re thinking about launching a small business, then, you should ask yourself these questions before you take the plunge. If you have taken everything into consideration, planned well, and you have a burning passion to make your dreams a reality, then the likelihood that you will succeed is pretty high. Good luck making your business the greatest that it can be, and benefitting from all that there is to learn along the way!