Advice for Starting a Business
Having only been in business for 4 years, I have picked up lots of valuable tips and advice for starting a business. I want to share with you 3 tips that will help you before you even launch your business:
1. Speak to someone who is already doing what you want to do.
There are 3 sentences that most people find hard to say:
I love you.
I need help.
Asking for help has to be one of the most valuable resources a business can have. Someone else's experience in business can help you make some of the best decisions.
If someone said, ‘Hey, I have just been on the A46 and the traffic was awful. It took me 30 minutes longer than it should have. Definitely take the back roads.”
Would you go, "Great, thanks for the advice, I’m going to take the A46 anyway, I want to make the same mistake as you and waste 30 minutes of my time."
No, you wouldn’t. You’d appreciate that they have already experienced something you were about to step into and advised you not to waste your time and go a different route.
It’s the same in business. Our experiences, good or bad, help to write our own business’ story but also help the next business owner to avoid certain scenarios in order for their business story to be even more successful.
Now is the time to start looking for someone who is in your industry or who is already running a business or just has some extra life experience that can help to guide and advise you. They might even be able to mentor you and keep you accountable. This is the time to ask them lots of questions.
For me, that was my cousin, Louise. She was already a VA long before I started. So I sat down with her and started asking her everything she did when she started: how she set up with HMRC, where she got clients from, and how much to charge. Her advice helped me get on the right path and know what to start working on first.
2. Sign up for a course that will train you in the skills you need.
When you become a business owner, you don’t automatically get the title CEO. You can’t kick off your shoes and expect someone else to run different aspects of your business.
When you start the business, you become the founder plus their assistant, Finance Manager, Social Media Manager, Marketing Executive, Innovator, Safeguarding Officer, IT support, HR, Logistics, Website Designer, Customer Service and even your own intern.
Not a single person is highly skilled in all, if many of those jobs. Therefore we need to do some training to get a basic understanding of how each of the departments works.
About 3 months before I launched my business, I started a course titled ‘How to start an online business and work remotely.’ It taught me how to build a website from scratch, it showed me different ways to package our services, it gave me a library of different free resources that would help me set up a few systems. It taught me how to actually set up an online business!
There is a course for nearly everything. And so many of them are free!
You can check out the GOV.UK website and search for Skills Bootcamp. There are lists of courses that take 12 weeks and are all free.
Even big universities like Harvard University in America offer free online courses that you can take and receive a certified certificate.
3. Give yourself a timeframe.
I speak to so many people who tell me they want to start a business and have a great idea but they won’t tell me when they are launching. Why? Because they don’t have a plan of action and probably because they are too scared to try and fail. Aren’t we all? You need to create a clear timeframe of how and when you want to launch. Without a clear deadline, you will never start.
For me, I gave myself a 6-month timeframe from when I decided, “Yes, I am quitting my job” to launch day.
January - I met with Louise (my cousin) and asked her an endless amount of questions. My goal was to find out as much about the industry as possible so I knew what direction I wanted to go in.
April - I signed up for a course. I needed a few months to complete the training and implement it before I launched.
May - I handed in my notice at work. That was where it all started to feel real. There was no turning back. But I also had confidence. I had already set the tires in motion: I was researching, I was training. I was getting myself ready.
June - Decided on the name, branding, finished the website and set up my email. Even saved the social media handles. I was putting out some feelers for new clients. I even had my first interview with a client, who started just as I launched.
1st July - Day 1 of the start of my business. Launch day. To be honest, it wasn’t as dramatic as it sounds. I sat at my desk in my home office, opened my laptop and thought ‘Here we go.’
Without a timeframe of goals for each month, I wouldn't have started a business in July 2019.
4. Create a Social Media Plan if it's right for you and your business.
There is one major tip I haven’t mentioned. I bet you are thinking, "She hasn’t mentioned Social Media. You can’t live in 2023 and not have social media as one of your tips for starting a business."
Right and wrong.
You don’t NEED social media to launch a business but if you have the time (while juggling the 7 other jobs you have as a business owner) and you have done your research into a social media strategy, then yes, it can really help your business.
Looking for 'Launching a Business' mentoring? Check out Take The Leap Mentorship. To find out more, click here.