Along with having children, starting your own business is one of the most simultaneously exciting and terrifying things a person can do in their lifetime. With many people putting so much of their time, effort and money into startup, getting something wrong can be disastrous. By getting the fundamentals right early on, however, you can avoid some of the pitfalls that crop up as you try to get your new business off the ground.
Whatever industry sector your business falls into, getting the core product or service you are offering right is everything. From early on, you need to establish a unique selling point – more commonly referred to as a USP in marketing parlance. This sets you apart from your competitors from the get go. By offering something different and genuinely interesting, it is much easier to capture your audience’s attention and start to spread the news about your company by word of mouth. It’s also important to remember that while your product needs to stand out, it also needs to match the quality standards for your industry – nobody is going to want to work with or buy from a business offering a substandard service, no matter how unusual it is.
Location is another big concern for any new startup. On the highest level, the city or town where you set up has major implications on the type of people you will be able to hire because of variations in local job markets. A fledgling technology business may do well in a small university town with lots of bright-eyed graduates but will struggle in areas where the same talent pool is not available. Where you locate yourself within a city is also important; as a new company with few resources you will want to avoid the high rents of the city centre while also being accessible enough for customers and clients.
Once your core business proposition is in place and you’ve chosen a location, you will need to start thinking about whether you will need employees. Many startups try to run on as few staff as possible early on to keep costs down but this can often limit initial growth. Consider taking on interns, students on work placements and hire temporary staff to take advantage of great opportunities as they come up. By involving these people, you may be able to generate the extra business needed to employ them in a fulltime capacity further down the line.
With so much focus on getting the right product or service, location and people in place, it’s all too easy to forget about the everyday essentials when starting a new business. Take some time to consider all of your essential overheads; your business broadband, your phone connection and your utilities. Stopping to organise your business gas and electricity when in the middle of getting your company off the ground may seem a little dull but at the end of your first financial year, it might be the difference between staying in the red and jumping into the black.
Jennifer Adams is a part of a team of bloggers at cashzilla.co.uk who write about topics including business gas for a number of finance brands. For more and similar posts, check out Cashzilla.co.uk or head to our Twitter account, @cashzilla.