Starting a business – my ten top tips 16th April 2012

Top 10 'New in Business' Tips

Since the launch of the fantastic ‘New in Business’ start up course programme in February, I have received many requests to name my ‘top ten tips’ to consider when starting a business. Perhaps surprisingly, this is no easy task as individual needs and immediate priorities can vary, but in no particular order, (except for No 1!!) here are my thoughts –

1. Attend a WSX New in Business 2 day course programme. This great value and comprehensive course will prepare you in the production of a robust business plan and provide an understanding as to why this should be considered to be a living document.

2. Research your chosen industry/sector. Understand and ensure that you can comply with relevant legislative issues. Contact appropriate trade associations for information.

3. Know your prospective customers. Where are they buying services/products at present? What might make them buy from you? Have you profiled your customer market?

4. Listen to qualified advice. Attend a ‘new in business’ 2 day course programme. Talk to experienced people within your chosen industry/sector.

5. Trial your business. In many instances, it is possible to ‘test the water before jumping in’. If you can trial your business idea during evenings or weekends, you should be able to assess viability, or make necessary changes.

6. Control costs . Keep costs under tight control and some money in reserve. For example, consider purchasing good quality used equipment rather than new. It’s very likely that you will need more money than your budget allowed for.

7. Look for cost effective marketing. Plan your advertising/marketing carefully. Take advantage of free internet marketing, social media and networking. Look for low cost advertising opportunities. Always monitor and evaluate results.

8. Organise your books and records. Set up a straightforward bookkeeping system before you start trading. Keep all relevant receipts for starting up costs.

9. Be prepared for hard work. It’s very likely that you will need to devote a lot of time and effort in building your business – at least for the first 12 months. Make sure that family and friends are aware of your business commitment.

10. Be adaptable. Things may not always progress as well or as quickly as you would like. Be prepared to revise your business plan where necessary. Again, listen to qualified advice and perhaps be prepared to alter direction as the business evolves.