With the spotlight shining on enterprise, there’s no better time to work on becoming your own boss than during Global Entrepreneurship Week. This year will see thousands of events take place across the globe that will encourage people to start, or offer the confidence to grow.
Small business expert and author, Emma Jones, is delivering the UK’s largest ever StartUp Saturday during the week and here offers 5 steps to set you on your way.
1. What’s the Idea – the first step for any business is coming up with an idea. To do so, ask yourself some questions:
· Have you spotted a gap in the market – tried to buy something that’s not available? Others might be looking too.
· What is your passion/hobby/skill – and can this be turned into a way of making a living?
· Have you seen something that you think you can do better yourself – then now is your time!
Aim for your idea to be a niche one. By this I mean, have a product or service that’s focused on a clear market; for example selling wallpaper for boys rooms or providing coaching services to women in the HR sector. The benefits of a niche idea is you keep marketing costs low as you know who and where your customers are, and customer loyalty high, as customers can only get what they’re after from you.
2. Have a plan – with idea in mind, write a plan. This will act as your route-map, directing you from where you are now, to where you want to be. It doesn’t need to be very long and it’s easy to remember what to include as it spells I’M OFF:
· I – what’s the Idea for your business
· M – who is the Market you’re going to serve
· O – what Operations do you need to get started and growing
· F – is for Finances and involves writing a basic cashflow forecast and raising any extra funds required
· F – the final F is for Friends; who will be your support network of advisors and mentors along the way
With this plan in hand, you’re in business!
3. Make a sale – you may have started making product or services for friends and family. Now it’s time to take that a little further afield. Sell at Farmers Markets, in PopUp shops, online and via third party partners to get your product to market. Selling online means reaching national and international markets and getting onto the High Street through a PopUp is a great way to test new markets, at low cost.
4. Make some noise – with sales coming in, tell everyone about it! Embrace social media to become known on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest etc and get to know the journalists who write for your audience. Send them releases with stats and quotes and professional images and soon you’ll be seen in all the right places.
5. Keep the business in balance – as the business grows, try and divide an equal amount of your time across 3 things; business development, customer care and admin ie doing the books and keeping on top of cashflow. This will help keep you and the business in balance.