What do you need for a new business?

In last week’s blog we spoke about the bright possibilities during the dark times. So, if you decide to follow your dream and start a business what do you need?

Of course, you need the idea, the energy and the enthusiasm to get going.

What else?

An idea of who your ideal customers are. What do they look like? How do they like to be communicated with?

Your offering – what it is that you are selling and what are your USPs?

How you are going to market? Retail outlet, your own e-commerce offering, B2B, through resellers / wholesalers, through third party sites such as etsy or eBay.

What you are going to charge. What sales are you expecting? Do they cover all overheads and leave a profit for your pay? Are you charging for time & materials or the value that you bring?

An idea of who your competitors are. It may not be direct competitors that offer the same as you, but could also be unrelated, for example, a competitor to a new car may be another car, but it may be a new kitchen or an extension being finished, or, in post-Covid times, a holiday of a lifetime to celebrate an important life event.

Then there are the practicalities – how much money do you need to start? Whilst the business is being set up and acquiring first customers there are out-goings that need to be covered – rent possibly, IT equipment, sector specific equipment (so if a new bakery – ovens, mixers), business rates (if you have a commercial or retail unit), stock, raw materials (if a manufacturer). The list for each business is of course different, but hopefully those ideas trigger what you need.

Setting up a business takes a little time: Researching and applying for a business bank account. Setting up a limited company if you want to go that route instead of sole trader. Registering for VAT, if applicable – the VAT turnover is £85,000, but sometimes it is worth registering below that figure too. Finding an accountant – yes, a cost, but a good accountant will save you more money than they charge, and they’ll do your self-assessment too (a win win), HMRC and Companies House correspondence.

Don’t be afraid of asking for help. There are organisations such as Enterprise South over the country and they are there to help you be successful. Look into IPSE, the FSB, your local chamber of commerce, microbizmatters, Freelance Heroes – all are there to help and support you as a fledging business – some have fees, some do not.

If you need specific expertise such as HR or marketing, then there are consultants out there that offer ad hoc or ongoing mentoring services. You may wonder why invest, but if they save your time so that you can concentrate on the bits of the business that you are expert in, then they are worth it. Plus they will get you where you want to be quicker as they don’t have to learn about what needs to go into an employment contract, or how to improve enquiries on your website. You pay for their knowledge to help you grow quicker.

It may seem that there is a lot to think about above, but much of it is not complex once you get thinking about it.

Take the plunge, and find your bright skies amongst the dark times.