Taking the leap and starting your own business.

There is no doubt that starting your own business is a big decision. Whilst many people have great ideas for a business, only a small percentage actually start out on their own. This is because there are a large number of risks involved in starting your own business. From financial risks to those of security and the consequences of failure, there are numerous factors that you must consider before starting off. Such risks can be seen in a large number of new businesses that fail each year in the UK. Whilst many such businesses will often have great products and ideas, only a small percentage will actually go on to become high-turnover companies.

To help you get the best start possible, we have put together the following tips designed to let you know what is involved and what you can do to improve the chances of your business becoming a success.

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Know your stuff

It may seem obvious, but if you are going to start your own business, it is important that you know everything you can about it. You must, therefore, research the sector you wish to operate in, look at potential clients, identify your strengths and of course learn about your competition. Doing this will give you a much better chance of succeeding over the long term. Once you have done your research, you will be in a better position to create a realistic and effective business plan. This does not mean you are expected to become an expert in all areas. However, the more you know, the more you will be able to sell your ideas and vision to others. Being passionate about what you are doing is half the battle – love what you are doing, and the rest should come naturally.

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Make the leap

Once you have done your research, identified your strengths and have a clear understanding of what you need to do to succeed, you are ready to take your first risk – that of starting your own business. All businesses, of course, have the potential to fail. However, if you have done your research and believe in yourself and your business, you can make it. Starting your own business is a bit like taking a leap of faith, you must have faith in yourself and your abilities if you are to succeed. By working hard and knowing your stuff, you will be giving yourself a much better chance of succeeding. Whilst you will be expected to take risks, this doesn’t mean you have to be reckless. By taking calculated risks that take into account all factors, you will be able to reduce risk and increase your chances of succeeding.

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Be competitive

It is often not enough to simply know that your competitors exist. You must be prepared to take these on in order to succeed. If you believe you offer a better product/service, then tell people so. Do not be afraid to take on your competitors just because they are bigger and more established. Customers often do not care about such issues, and if you are offering something that is an improvement on others, they will want to know about it. Doing your research and understanding your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses will make it much easier for you to then exploit these to your own benefit. Of course, this doesn’t mean acting in an underhand manner. Rather, you are simply looking at what they are not offering and providing this service to customers who want it. Such business practices are what capitalism is based on. When looking at your competitors, remember, it is highly likely that they have or will be doing exactly the same to you.

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Make use of the internet

There is no doubting that technology has changed virtually every aspect of modern business. This can come in many forms and knowing what these will help you better take advantage of them. Firstly, with so much information now available on the internet, you would be foolish to ignore it. Once exclusively found in expensive business schools, there is now a wealth of information for entrepreneurs looking to set up their first business. From blogs and webinars to online education courses and government resources, you can now get expert advice, often completely free. Other valuable resources will include advice regarding your legal and tax requirements, as well as any available funding, such as grants for new businesses. Not only will you be learning more, but you will also be saving money with the knowledge you gain. Furthermore, such online resources are often two-way. This means if you have a specific question, you can ask this online – enabling you to see a variety of views and answers, and perhaps helping you find the solution you need.

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Unique selling point

When starting out, it is important to know what your Unique Selling Point (USP) is. This is what you believe will stand your business out from others, what sets you apart, what will help your business become a success. Your USP can take many forms, be it your experience, your staff, the market you operate in or the types of clients you deal with. Being clear about your USP is vital, and you really need to be clear about this before anything else. Knowing your USP will enable you to then create a business plan that makes the best use of this – helping you to make a niche in your targeted area and working your way to becoming a market leader.