Thinking about starting your own business? We’ve put together a great checklist of things to consider before you do, from marketing and insurance to lifestyle and relaxing.
- How will people know about your new business?
If your target audience doesn’t know anything about your brand, then you sure as hell aren’t going to make any money. Marketing is one of the most important parts of any startup – you need to generate hype and get people talking about you if you want to be able to sell to them.
The days of printing out leaflets and advertising in the local newspaper are over. In today’s world, you need to work harder than ever to ensure your marketing is heard by potential customers, so digital marketing is the way to go. Alongside pay-per-click campaigns on Facebook and Google, you need to set up social media accounts on the biggest platforms and post engaging, relevant content that speaks to your audience. From there, you can also consider the benefits of content marketing – that is, blogging on your website and enjoying organic traffic that comes from doing so. In fact, small businesses who used content marketing had six times higher conversion rates than those who didn’t. It makes sense.
- Will you be insured?
When you’re launching a small business, the last thing you want to think about is the law, but keeping yourself protected should something go wrong is essential. If you, or a member of your team, will be coming into contact with the public, then you’ll need to consider having some form of public liability insurance. Without it, you could face significant legal fees and compensation challenges, and you could have to take time off work or close your business while legal proceedings are underway. With the insurance policies provided by companies such as Be Wiser Business Insurance, however, you know that you’re covered should an accident occur or a member of the public is injured.
- What’s your competition up to?
Understanding the ins and outs of your competition is important, so make sure that you conduct some thorough research before you start your business. Ask the important questions, like whether the market is big enough for two companies, whether you’ll be able to offer a product or service better than the competition and why your business is different. Defining your brand and offering something that’s a genuine alternative to a mainstream brand is a great way of boosting your profile and cementing your position as a valuable company – if you’re only hoping to become a carbon copy of an existing brand, you’ll fail.
One great way to get an insight into your competition is actually to use their products or services. Call into their store and see how they service their customers, find out more about why people like using their brand and what the company’s downfalls are. From there, you’ll be able to use their weaknesses to create a brand that consumers will love.
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- Will you be hiring?
In the early days of your new business, you’ll want to have your hand in every pie. It makes sense – the first few months of your business are the most vital, and you want to create the very best first impression you can. However, after a while, you will need to consider the possibility of hiring staff, and so make sure you have a plan in place before you launch.
Think about writing job descriptions, determining an appropriate rate of pay, writing the advert and advertising the role in advance of you needing a member of staff. It’s best to hire one great employee early to take some of the weight off of your shoulders than wait until you absolutely need to hire and make a rushed decision that won’t benefit your business. Information Week has put together ten signs you’ve hired the wrong person – reading this before you start the interview process will aid in you finding the right member of staff.
When you’ve received a few applications, it’s time to shortlist and then arrange interviews with candidates. From there, you can make checks to ensure they’re eligible to work in the UK, then select your favourite candidate and offer them the job. The process of hiring your first member of staff can be stressful and time-consuming, so consider asking for help from your friends and family if you’re feeling overwhelmed when making important decisions.
- How will your lifestyle change?
If you’re starting your own business after leaving a traditional 9-5 job, then the freedom of managing your own time and schedule may be overwhelming. Make sure you understand what you’re letting yourself in for, and be sure to practice good time management to get the most out of your day. You should also consider, for your sanity, to take weekends off, and find time to spend with friends and family so that you maintain an active social life.
- Will you be able to relax?
Starting a new business can be an exciting time, but it can also bring with it a great amount of stress and sleepless nights. Make sure that you set aside time to relax, and if you’re going to be working from home, consider imposing a ‘work ban’ after a certain time so that you can switch off. Answering client emails when you should be relaxing with your family or enjoying a day out can be frustrating for all involved; learn to work inside your boundaries.