Setting up a business is a common go-to option for younger people in the UK, with around one in five of the 18-34 age group having a marketable idea. It’s especially important as this age group is three times as likely to be unemployed, so becoming self-employed or starting a company is a good idea.
Of course it won’t work out for everyone, but even so, the experience gained is invaluable. If you’re thinking about making your idea a reality, read on for some common sense tips that will help you along.
Learn from the mistakes of others
Every single successful entrepreneur has made more than a few mistakes – it’s why they’re successful now! Read about them, or follow them on social media to gain some insights.
Get hands-on experience
Learn about the sector you’re aiming at – spend some time on the bottom rung, learning how the business works at the grass roots level. If you can see where you could make improvements, you could be onto a winner.
Have a business plan
An idea doesn’t make a business by itself, you have to understand the nuts and bolts and to be able to create and meet targets. You need to incorporate overhead costs, like premises, and telecom providers. There are many utility providers that can help start-ups, like woav.co.uk, which provides internet and phone packages for SMEs. You need to pare your expenses down as far as you can, and aim to just break even for the first couple of years.
Find a mentor
There are several government-backed, free mentor services for small businesses and entrepreneurs. If you don’t fancy that, talk to friends and family members who have run businesses, even if they’re not in your sector.
Use support organisations
Contact Youth Business International, or Start-up Direct if you’re in or around London. You can also head to your local Chamber of Commerce for advice and signposting to other advisory bodies and resources.
Apply for grants
Again, as your Local Chamber of Commerce for advice on grant-awarding bodies – you may qualify because of your sector, your age, your postcode, or even the fact that you’ve been unemployed. It never hurts to ask!
Make a name for yourself
You’ll need a name that’s available – not just as a business name, but also as a domain name, a copyrighted name, a “trading as” name and one that’s not already registered at Companies House.
You can try a play on words, or use your own name – whatever makes it easy for customers to remember you and makes a statement about you and your enterprise.
Design your logo
A great logo – one that’s well-designed and “speaks” to your audience – is half the battle. You need a design that fits your sector and gets your personality and message across.
Yes, you’ll have to do your early promotion yourself, because PR companies are expensive and you’re bootstrapping, remember. Use social media, enter competitions, whatever you can think of and find to draw attention to yourself and get people talking to you.