Starting a business is not the easiest thing in the world. Plenty of people put it off because they have no idea where to start.
For those that are unaware of my business background, my first business was started when I was studying for my MSc ( Torque Human Performance ), my second business (my blog) was started in April 2017, my third business is just over two years old ( BecauseRacecarBox ) and I've now owned Vitamin Coffee for just over one year! Before starting these business’s, I dabbled in making and selling my own jewellery, freelance promotions work and selling beauty products at a higher mark up than RRP. Entrepreneurship is in my blood, my family from my brother, mum and dad, grandparents, great grandparents and higher up the line – have all been business owners, from car sales to multi-million-pound property portfolio’s! I have compiled a useful guide to starting your own business, drawing on my experience, and hope that this will be the starting help that you need.
I also want to stress before you read this and think you don't have enough money to start a business... YOU DON'T NEED INVESTMENT TO START A BUSINESS! I started this entire journey with £10 on the table.. I didn't seek investment or a loan and my first business was born from needing to bring in extra cash desperately to pay for rent and bills... I was far from rolling in it!
There are a few steps that I always take when thinking about starting a new business;
1. The first thing you need to do is to find an interest or passion that you already have. At this point, don’t concentrate on how you will make money, really focus on what you actually love to do. The key is to think of something that if you did that for the rest of your life would you be happy. If at this point you have no idea, then don’t worry – you may not have a hobby or true passion, but you may love to watch tv in the evening, or you might have a favourite food. Think about the wider picture before you zoom in on the details.
2. Now you have a topic/interest, you need to try and find a problem with something within this. Have you ever got annoyed because the only shampoo that suits your hair comes in a bottle that is a nightmare to squeeze? Or do you always find that ketchup gets stuck in the bottom of the bottle? Or you love lip gloss, but they are always sticky and your hair gets stuck to your lips? You will probably have a few things in your head that frustrate you, so now think about how you may be able to problem solve. The best business’s are based on solving a problem within a pre-existed industry as commercially it will appeal to people.
3. Going solo on a business venture can be scary and lonely. If you have someone else to partner with.. do. I have a business partner that I do everything with and it really helps with growth! It could be someone close to you that has the same interest as you and working with them to make your idea’s work can makes things less stressful. Make sure you work with someone that you trust and that they are responsible. You need to be able to bounce ideas of each other so be prepared to criticise and to be criticised. This is vital for your development as a business.
4. We all pick up skills, whether it is through education or simply life experience. Write down what skills you have that you think could be an asset to that industry or passion or the problem that you want to solve. This will give you an idea of what you already have and give you a bit of an idea as to what you may need to learn or find someone else to help you with. Knowledge in your industry is important, but having versatile skills is vital.
5. Market Research is next. You have established the rough area that you want to set a business up in. Now you need to have a look at business’s or products that are already in that industry. Look at what is their exact product, who is their general target audience and is there anything that you would improve? You need to find a niche as you do not want to replicate so aim to find your Unique Selling Point (USP) so you can be different. Find out in as much detail who your competitors are and try to work out the strengths and the weaknesses of the market. Once this is established you should be able to work out where your business fits within the industry that its placed in.
6. The last thing to think about is branding. You know what your product or invention/service is and you know how you are going to differ to others already out there. You should also be aware of who you are planning to target and why they will want to buy from you. Now you need to be able to convince them to purchase. A good brand is always memorable. Think about slogans, logos and brand names that are household names; they have got there by making things catchy, original and simple. Before you settle on a name, do your research. I can not stress this enough; if you want your business to make it big time, then you can not have the same name as someone else – you will end up having to change your name due to copyright/trademark and once you have already established a customer base this is detrimental to your sales. This really should be the very last step, and often takes the longest!
Hopefully now you have a good idea of how to set up your own business! Working for yourself is so exciting and I hope it brings you every bit of success no matter or small or large it is. If you want business mentoring or just need to ask a few questions, please get in touch! I would love to help others make their business dreams come true!