Starting your own business is an exciting yet challenging time, and a thousand questions will be swimming around your mind long before you even decide you’re going to go for it. Before doing your core research and working through the nitty gritty details, here are five key questions that you need to be able to answer if you are going to take the plunge and start your own business.
How are you going to afford to start?
First things first, money. Have you been saving? Yes. Are you aware of all the costs involved in getting started? Yes. Are you probably unaware of some of the hidden costs involved that you don’t know about yet? Yes. To start your own business isn’t just setting up a website and selling products through it. There are other costs you need to consider. Even if you are starting a business from home and selling products online, here are a few things you would need to think about when it comes to budget:
- How you register your business will depend on how much it costs with Companies House, so bare this in mind and take advice from the gov website. It is also worth checking out licence fees and any other legal work.
- Unless you are a creative person, chances are you will have to hire someone to build your website and do your branding, this could be costly. There is also a charge for a website domain.
- If you want to copyright your brand or name, this can also be another added cost.
- If you need help getting started, staff salaries will also come into the mix.
- If you’re creating a product to sell, design, production, manufacturing and posting will also add to the costs.
There are thousands of different businesses with different business models around the world, and everyone’s will be different. Always try to incorporate absolutely everything into your business budget before you decide to start up. The last thing you want is to run out of money when you are half way through as you didn’t budget appropriately.
Why will your business stand out?
You’ve probably already thought about this enough to make you want to start a business, but have you looked at competitors? You don’t want to be just another business offering the same product as someone else; you need something unique. Research your competitors and what their unique product offering is- how could you do things differently? Try to put yourself in the eyes of the customer and go through the motions of why you would choose your brand over any other that is offering the same product or services as you. Would it be price? Ethos? Design? Find your USP and stick to it.
Who is your target market and how will you reach them?
One of the biggest yet sometimes underestimated tasks of running a business is to know your target market. If you don’t know who to target, how are you able to bring on new business? Spend some time researching your ideal customer. How big is the market? What age group are they? What job titles do they have? What industries do they work in? By nailing this down sooner, you are able to figure out costing for your marketing. Even fairly simple social media marketing comes at a cost if you want to get it in front of the right people, and if you’re not doing it right you could fly though your budget fairly quickly. When you’ve found your ideal customer, you could pull a list of how much market share there is for your business. Tools such as Sales Joe allow you to target customers via industry, job title, geographical location, plus much more. By having a tool like this you are able to find your ideal prospect list and find out how many people or companies you could actually target when your company is up and running, with the added bonus of having key decision makers’ contact details.
Are you going to export overseas?
If you are providing a cloud based service overseas, you can ignore this point, unless you are going to offer your services in different languages. However if it’s a product, here is where you need to make some decisions. Even if you have an eBay shop or have done online selling before, you would have been asked if you’re prepared to ship overseas. If you do decide to ship overseas, are you going to count on overseas customers coming to your local website and pay extra for shipping? Or are you going to market in different countries with local domains and languages? Geographical location could change your audience due to culture, and you need to think of competitors in foreign markets. If your prospect could get your product closer to home and pay less postage for it, why wouldn’t they? It is also worth checking out all the postage prices for local and international and the best ways to transport your goods once you have sold them as this can massively cut into your budget- especially if you aren’t prepared for it.
So there are our four key questions that we think are important to answer before you budget for your new business, do you have any others? Drop us a comment below!