Starting up – the lessons I’ve learned

Whether your idea is still on the drawing board, or if you’re ready to launch, make sure you have these areas covered.

Every business starts with a great idea, one we think there is a market for. Brilliant!… but be brutally honest with yourself. Starting up a business is hard work. I know, because I’ve worked on a number of startups, including my own.

Can you take the pressure? Can you work the long hours? What about financial insecurity in the early days when you are investing in your business and not necessarily getting the returns straightaway? Do you have the resilience to keep going? The passion and belief in your product or service has to be strong enough to carry you through both the good and the bad times that will undoubtedly be ahead.

So, what’s your plan?
How are you going to bring your idea to life? Pull together a plan and consider what the obstacles are to your success and what you think are the best ways to overcome them. Get organised with your approach to setting your plans in motion. A good checklist is great to ensure you’re not forgetting anything essential to your business success. Recognise you don’t know everything, and be open to new ideas and different approaches to your business. 

Market research
This is key. Before you invest too much time and money, you need to be sure your business idea is selling the right product or service for your market. Study and learn from your competitors. What are they doing right that you can implement in your business? How can you do things better?

Your idea doesn’t have to be a new one, but it needs to differ from your competitors, and stand apart from them. You want to be remembered over and above them, so take the time to consider what is truly unique about your business. What is it that your customers will remember and keep them returning to you?

Take plenty of time to investigate your market, the demand and your competitors. Network, talk to potential customers, suppliers and distributors. Be really sure of your facts and figures.

Spend time understanding how your idea is received by targeted focus groups and LISTEN to the feedback, it will be invaluable to the success of your project. Test your idea and test the market before you make huge decisions about your future.

A planned focused approach is essential, don’t let your eyes stray from the prize. 

Write a Business Plan
Make this measurable so that you can map out your longer-term objectives, estimates and forecasts as well as those in the immediate future. Your business plan is not set in stone, and will evolve over time, but you can use it to gauge your success and it will help you to access funding and investment when you need it. You will return time and again to this, and it’s invaluable in keeping you focused on your end results.

Discipline
You will need bucket loads of self-discipline to stick to your business plan, to make and keep to your budget, and very importantly to develop your business further so that you can meet the goals you set for yourself. A planned focused approach is essential, don’t let your eyes stray from the prize.

Flexibility
Let me tell you now, not everything is going to go to plan! You are going to work really hard putting in a lot of time and effort, only to find that something doesn’t go right. There are countless factors that will mean you have to be open to changes, to either or both your plan and your idea. But that’s OK… Being flexible can mean the difference between success or failure. 

And finally…
Just because you are turning your ideas into a reality, doesn’t mean you need to do everything all by yourself. The right advice and support can help you with planning, legal issues, IP, investment, design, HR, marketing and sales, and so much more!


Can I help you with your business?

Wherever you are in the process, on paper or on the verge of going to market, get in touch with me today.

Find out how I can help you to get your new business idea successfully off the ground.

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Find out more about me…

I love to work with entrepreneurs, small business owners, and family teams, who have developed their passion and realised they have the talent to create a successful business.

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