How to get your start-up off the ground
Launching a start-up is fraught with pitfalls – so many, in fact, that it’s unwise to experience them all for yourself. Luckily, there are plenty of people out there willing to offer advice, but how do you know where to start? Here, we outline five ways to ensure you get your start-up off the ground successfully.
- Have a plan
By which, we don’t mean, have an idea in your head of how it’s all going to work out, but actually sit down and write a plan. Write a description of your objectives and company values, set out what you plan to achieve in the first three to five years, and outline how you’ll get there. Next, forecast the first few years’ figures to give you an idea of what size loan you’re looking at. Finally, write a summary of the market and its demand, and detail how your offering will meet it.
- Get the money
The business plan is your ticket to obtaining the funding you need to get started. Without it, it’ll be hard to convince loan providers and investors that your idea is not only great, but also commercially viable. Investigate and pitch to a number of sources to secure investment and – perhaps most importantly – don’t blow it on fancy computers and a state-of-the-art office. You’ll need to make the money last until you’re seeing the returns.
- Define your brand
It’d be unwise to start marketing your business before you’ve got your branding down. It’s not just a case of getting a logo and a registered name; you’ll need to outline your company’s core values, decide on a suitable style and tone of voice for content, invest in uniforms if necessary, and define colour palettes. Once you have a cohesive brand, it’s time to get out there.
- Get out there
Which leads us nicely onto the next point – getting recognition. You can do this is a variety of ways, from attending conferences and trade shows, delivering flyers, advertising in the local press and engaging in social media. However you choose to market your offering though, make sure it’s via the channels that your target market engages with. Otherwise you’re just wasting money.
- Serve your customers
No successful business would be where it is today without a strong customer base. Aim to build repeat business by offering the very best service you can, consistently and on every single interaction. Whether you’re making a sale or dealing with a complaint, you should afford your customers the same level of courtesy and friendliness, and work hard to build their trust. It’s the only way to keep them coming back and – even better – advocating your brand.
A little help
If you’d like some help with the financial aspects of starting your business, speak to a specialist such as THP Chartered Accountants. With extensive experience in helping start-ups get going, professional accountants are well-placed to offer advice.