If you are thinking about starting a small business or are in the first year of startup life you may be nagged by a worry that your business may fail. So, how do you make sure a startup is successful? We put some common questions that we regularly get asked to our own business founder, Simon.
Simon has been lucky enough to see a lot of businesses at different stages of their life cycles while working with one of the UK’s best-known entrepreneurs.
"I have supported small businesses, from start-ups to growth journeys, worked for some top UK household brands and now run my own digital agency, Childsey. I am no expert, however, I have been lucky enough to be involved in some really exciting projects, which have given me some knowledge about starting up a business here in the UK."
“Before you get started: be honest with yourself and ask tough questions? Ask yourself what experience you have. Looking at your personal and professional history as well as your strengths and weaknesses is the best place to begin when deciding what type of business to start.
Once you have an answer, look at your idea critically, is it as good as you think? We can all get carried away, so ask people you trust what they would think about your proposition. Would they be customers? What is your competition doing? How can you stand out against them? Market research in the early stages of business conception can be the difference between success and failure”
"To succeed in business it helps to have a broad set of skills to fall back on in the early days such as experience in project management, planning, strategy and some basic financial knowledge.
Cash is king, most businesses fail in the first year and the main reason for this is poor cash flow. Make a cash flow budget, then increase your costs by 25%, things always come up. What does this look like? Do what you can to limit your cash liability and the profit will come.
Always put your customers first! I know this is an obvious one but these days your business reputation is more vital than ever. Everyone has a platform for sharing opinions. Ensure that every decision you make focuses on the customer journey. If you succeed in creating happy customers, then profit and business success will follow."
"Support! Find people to support you both professionally and personally. Starting a business is time consuming and lonely, find great people you trust, who you can talk to and run ideas past.
Trust in professionals as well. Starting a business will take up a lot of your life, you should be an expert in your business… but that doesn’t mean you have to be a pro at everything. Evaluate your strengths, value your time and find the right people to fill the gaps such as; accountants, designers and tech support. This can take the load off and help you focus on what you do best, growing your new business!"
"What does success look like and how will you track your performance? It is easy to trick yourself into thinking things are going well without the data to back yourself up. What’s your end goal and what does good look like? How are you going to hold yourself accountable? These are the questions that you should be asking yourself regularly. "
"Sometimes when we really want to succeed at something we second guess our decisions, adding extra strain to our lives. Also, the pressure of starting a new business is exciting but also incredibly stressful (maybe one of the most stressful things you will ever do!)
Use tech and software solutions to lighten the load! It can make running a business a lot simpler and there are a plethora of options out there to choose from.
Check out productivity software, making it easier and more simple to run your new business more efficiently.
From Monday.com which helps you manage your time, (and your team) to comprehensive suits such as Microsoft 365. If you are struggling with accounting costs think about using accounting software. Great for keeping the financial process easy for you and as cost efficient as possible."
"Be flexible, some of the biggest businesses in the world adapt to change and reap the rewards.
Be open and accepting that your business plan could shift and move and embrace this. COVID has been an exceptionally challenging time for all businesses, regardless of age or size, all we can do is respond and adapt as best we can. Where you are able, use data when making decisions or switching strategies, especially when weathering a storm such as a global pandemic. "
If you are thinking about starting your own business or currently running a startup, take a look around the Business Tech Website to find the right tools to support you and your business.