So you’re thinking of launching your own internet business startup? Or is it a business magazine? Maybe you haven’t fully formed your business idea yet but are certain you want to start your own business. Maybe you’re seeking an escape from the mundanity of nine-to-five employment; maybe you can’t stand working for anyone else for a minute longer; or perhaps you’ve just been made redundant or simply have an idea that’s too good to go to waste. Whichever it is, that first entrepreneurial seed has been sown, and before long you will be starting your own business.
But how do you grow that seed into a thriving, new business? Firstly, do you really want to? Are you cut out for it? Even if you are, is it too greater risk to give up a secure income? And just where should you start? You’ve probably got at least one of these questions, along with many others, swimming around your head right now – and that’s perfectly understandable.
Starting up your own business will change your life. It’ll change the way you think, the way you work, the way you spend money and the way you socialise. It’ll be one of the most demanding challenges you’ll ever be likely to take on.
You’ll work every hour possible to get your business off the ground then even longer to keep it afloat during the early days. You probably won’t have another holiday for a couple of years and virtually your entire life will become focused on making your business start up succeed.
If you’re in a relationship, it will undoubtedly feel the strain and if you’ve got a family prepare to be repeatedly torn between them and ‘the business’.
This is the harsh truth of starting your own business. If you thought you’d be reducing your hours not increasing them, that it wouldn’t disrupt your family life and that, frankly, it all seems a bit too much trouble, then stop reading now; turn off your computer and think of a different way to improve your everyday happiness.
If what I’ve just said hasn’t curbed your desire, keep reading – you’re showing all the attributes an entrepreneur needs when starting up in business.
Sure, you’ll still have plenty of anxieties and unanswered questions, but like every successful entrepreneur starting a small business, the thought of a challenge excites and enthuses you.
If you’re going to succeed, you won’t mind concentrating all your energy into the new business because it’ll be ‘your baby’ and you and your family will be the ones reaping the rewards – not a fat cat on ten times your salary. You’ll also have the enthusiasm and ideas to find solutions to the obstacles in your path.
And remember, you’re not the first to have these anxieties or to face these obstacles as you’re starting your own business. Every successful entrepreneur has overcome many barriers and continues to do so every week with his new internet business startup, her freshly launched business magazine or whatever new business it is you are bringing to market.
What’s more, many successful entrepreneurs had no business qualifications or experience prior to starting up in business; many spent months, even years, formulating their idea into a viable business proposition; and absolutely every single one has made mistakes, accepted help and learnt lessons as they’ve gone along.
The reason they’ve succeeded is because they’ve remained determined, focused, worked extremely hard and had the clarity of mind to realise they couldn’t do it all on their own. If you share these attributes, you’re half way there.
And needn’t be that scary. It might seem that you only ever hear bad news about the condition of the economy, but there’s never been a better time to start a business.
There’s never been so much help and information from business startup services available to people wanting to do it as there is today. There’s never been so much funding available for business start ups, and the government has never been so geared to encouraging enterprise.
The doom and gloom merchants certainly haven’t put off the 3.8 million businesses currently operating in the UK, or the 904,000 people that made the plunge and started-up last year. Every year the figure gets bigger as more people decide to work for themselves, and each year the number of business closures decreases too.
What’s more, business start ups are now fundamental to the economy. The days of thousands of large companies employing millions of staff are no more. The number of aspiring entrepreneurs starting small businesses have surged in recent years, and their companies now make up 99.8% of the total businesses in the UK and are responsible for almost half of the UK’s workforce.
So while you might be on the verge of starting your own business with the freedom to work when, where and for how long you want, you won’t, contrary to popular belief, be ‘going it alone’. There will be others going through the same experience, there will be others who have already gone through the experience and there will be business startup services to guide you.
That said, nobody’s going to build your business for you while you sit content in the knowledge you’re now master of your own destiny.
Once you finally decided that joining the ranks of entrepreneurialism is for you and that you definitely want to start your own business, then you need to begin putting it into practise. Here, one of those early questions raises its problematic head once again: where should you start?
This is where we come in. Startups.co.uk is not just a business magazine but a tremendous online resource designed to guide you through every step of starting up your own business, from formulating your idea to writing a business plan and raising finance.
It’ll help prepare you for how start your own business and make it one that will change your life, affect your relationship with your family and friends and offer advice on the best ways to deal and cope with the changes. Work/life balance is an over-used term you’ll hear from every business coach and all the business startup services you’re ever likely to encounter. But if you’ve worked 20 hours a day for two months in a row you’ll be physically and mentally drained and appreciate the need for striking that balance.
It’ll take you through the research stage – helping you test drive your idea to see if it’s commercially viable and if there’s the market demand for it. It’ll help you make cost and revenue forecasts and to present your idea in the form of a business plan that you can then take to prospective business investors and partners. If your idea needs patenting, it’ll show you how.
Once you’re convinced and ready to take the plunge it’ll guide you through registering your company name – once its helped you choose one, that is – and help you decide if you’re a limited company or a sole trader.
Startups.co.uk will help you develop the skills that you’ll need when starting your own business. It’ll guide you safely through the minefield that is tax and introduce you to practices, products and systems that will help you organise your accounts efficiently. It’ll advise when professional help from an accountant or solicitor is needed, and when it isn’t – saving you time and money.
If you’re raising finance, there’s plenty of choice where to get it from. Startups.co.uk gives a rundown of the advantages and disadvantages of using different financiers, from high street banks to venture capitalists and business angels – and how best to impress them while still getting a good deal.
It’ll help you make the decision whether to work from home or seek premises, assist you in finding office or factory space and offer guidance on how to make the most from your chosen location.
Startups.co.uk also looks at how to get the most from your working day and ways that you can ensure your time is put to good use. For instance, how can you be in a meeting with clients and taking business calls at the same time? Do you need to use a virtual secretary? Would it be cost effective? Startups.co.uk will help you decide.
Finding reliable and affordable suppliers can be one of the hardest tasks for new business owners – Startups.co.uk helps you access a huge list of contacts and knowledge of how to ensure you get the most for money and advise you on how much stock you should be carrying.
It’ll also talk to you about talking to others. Networking is a word that often strikes fear into the hearts of new business owners. Walking into a room of people who’ve been in business for decades can be quite daunting. But select the right networking groups and a format that you’re comfortable with and it’ll help you build a valuable source of contacts that can drive your business forward.
But word of mouth won’t be enough to get your business working to its full capacity and it’s likely that you’ll need at least some marketing and public relations. Startups.co.uk will explain all the options available to you, what is most likely to prompt the best response rates and advise you how to handle pr companies. It’ll also give you insight into the type of marketing and pr that you can do for yourself for very little money.
You might be launching an internet business startup. If so, website design, marketing and internet connectivity will be important issues from day one. Even if you’re not starting an internet business, it’s very likely you’ll want a website or even to sell online too.
Startups.co.uk will guide you through the process of getting a website designed from one of the millions of companies now specialising in the service. It’ll help you decide the level of complexity your site needs and help you drive traffic to it. It’ll also help you understand the different types of internet connection that are available – will you need broadband and what are its advantages? All is explained.
As an entrepreneur, the internet isn’t the only type of technology you’ll need to be considering. Will you need to invest in a desktop computer or laptop, how about a whole network of computers, a server? Even for a one-man home office you’ll need to evaluate the need for a printer, scanner, fax and photocopier. There are all-in-ones but none are one-size-fits-all solutions. Startups.co.uk will help you choose the hardware to suit your business.
And what mobile technology is available to help you keep up to date with your business activities while your on the move, seeing a client or carrying out a job. The technology is there to help you – we’ll make sure you know about it.
It’s unlikely you’ll be starting with a staff of 50, but perhaps you’ll need to take on one or two people from the start. Are you experienced in recruiting? You might know a friend of a friend who can help out, but is this really the right person to entrust with your business’ future. Startups.co.uk tackles all issues of taking on staff.
Plus, we’ll offer advice on those boring necessities you’ve probably not even thought about yet. Things like health & safety, employer liability insurance, virus protection and employment legislation. Red tape is the bugbear of every business owner, but the weight of the problem is significantly lessened if you’re organised and know what’s expected of you.