New Business Start up

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People Discovery – Top 10 tips for New business start up

New business startup is an art. As one person or partnership starting up with a limited budget, it is sometimes difficult to know where to start when you have so many calls on your finances and time.   The tips and information that follow are an attempt to share with you what I learned, and to share where I decided to invest my new business startup budget.   Most businesses I used are North East Based, but some may have a national remit.

Before committing to any expenditure or agreement, always have a written quotation and compare it.  Make sure that the company you employ fits your needs.  Every business is different and there are a myriad of companies out there who will exactly fit the bill for you.  So do shop around!

New Business Startup tip No 1

Make sure you have industry level qualifications and experience relevant to your target market.   You also need to have the right personal qualities.  It is not for the faint-hearted.

To think about:

  • Look at competitor websites and publicity information to see how they advertise their credentials for what you want to sell or deliver.  Make sure you have a unique selling point.
  • If you have previously been employed, working for yourself can seem lonely.  New business startup also requires different qualities, such as resilience and perseverance.  Make sure you fully understand the implications before you invest any money or effort.

Where to go:

  • Business enterprise organisations will help you discuss your intended new business startup and give you expert advice.   See below for more information.
  • If you are still working you might want to explore whether becoming self-employed is the right direction for you.  A good career coach may help.  Antoinette Oglethorpe is a career coach based in the North East, she has some great free resources about “taking the plunge”  You can access them here
  • If your new business startup involves taking on employees, then People Discovery can provide excellent coaching and advice.

New Business Startup tip No 2

Link with a local business enterprise organisation.  They will help you with all aspects of starting up, and may even provide free business coaching or mentoring.

To think about:

  • There are lots of regionally based business enterprise organisations out there.   New business startup is a catch all for businesses from one-man bands to entrepreneurial ventures, to limited companies.  Business enterprise organisations usually embrace all new business startup. Some of the way they do business can vary and you will want to see what is available.   Generate a list of business enterprise companies in your Area and then find out what they offer so you get the right help for your particular startup.

Where to go:

  • First port of call for me was business link although business link no longer exists as a regional face to face resource.  It is now an online self-help portal.   You can access this here
  • The North East Business and Innovation Centre based at Sunderland offers a range of  new business startup and established business advice and events.  They can be found here
  • Newcastle Library has recently refreshed its Business and Intellectual Property Centre.   It specialises in research and intellectual property advice, and also offers general business mentoring which is free.   You can access the centre here
  • Another good enterprise agency is NBSL You can view their website here

New Business Startup tip No 3

Don’t underestimate your initial investment and funding.   You will need to provide set up costs and some on-going costs until your business begins bringing in customers.

To think about:

  • Gone are the days when startup funding grants were available for anyone with a good idea and a business plan.  There are pockets of funding available, but these tend to be very specifically targeted, and usually involve match funding.  Also make sure you know what services you will need, for example website design, branding, marketing etc. and understand how much these will cost you initially, and budget for on-going costs.

Where to go:

  • Your chosen business enterprise advisor will help you and point you to available grants and funding.  Also contact the economic development department at your local authority.
  • If you are requiring investment or new business startup loan finance, Entrust have a network of business investors and a range of financial loans to help.  You can contact Entrust here

New Business Startup tip No 4

Get legal. Understand how your company is to be structured.  Register with HMRC and understand your anticipated tax liabilities.  Book a free tax surgery with a local accountant.

To think about

  • Consider becoming a self-employed associate or contractor.  This can be attractive as you do not have to bear many set up costs or on costs.  You simply register as self-employed.  Contact and register with your niche market companies and you’re up and running.
  • Have a realistic business plan so you understand your projected income. This is important to understand so you know how to  legally structure or register your new business startup.

Where to go

  • HMRC have great advice on their website and they also run free information days.
  • I attended a free tax surgery with Robson Laidler.   They gave me some really useful and knowledgeable information, so I employed them to submit my tax returns.  They also offer accountancy services.   You can find their website here

New Business Startup tip No 5

Get Branding.  If you don’t understand what makes you stand out, then you will find it harder to sell your business.  A good brand can include a logo and how you design your publicity material.  You need to consider protecting your brand or product, by patenting or trademark.

To think about

  • You need to decide if you want to create a brand.  Branding is important right from the outset if you want your business to appeal to your target audience.  A branding expert will talk through and help you understand how branding can help.  It is invaluable to get this right before you start out designing a website or any promotional material.  It can help you to focus on exactly what your business is about.

Where to go

  • I developed my logo and branding with Brandnewcastle.  They steered me through the branding process and gave me lots of great ideas, before finally deciding on my logo. You can access Brandnewcastle’s website here
  • If you want to protect your brand, or indeed patent your idea or product, you can get expert advice from Newcastle Library’s intellectual property team.  You can contact them here

New Business Startup tip No 6

A website is a great tool to reach your audience.  Get some expert advice from more than one website designer, and be clear about the purpose and design needs so it is accessible and useful for your customers. 

To think about

  • A website can not only be a great tool to reach your audience, it can also be a great branding tool.  Before you develop your website, be clear about your brand, your target market, and get some advice about search engine optimisation (SEO).
  • The pivot of website design is actually whether your target audience can find you through SEO.  If your company is going to be mostly internet based, then understanding SEO and what your target audience is searching for is vital before you decide on your branding.
  • When choosing your web designer, be clear about how fixed or fluid you want your website to be. How often will it be updated and will you do this, or will you be paying them to do this on an on-going basis?
  • Understand  on-going maintenance and hosting costs

Where to go

  • My website was designed by e-web-design.   They were extremely helpful, and understood I wanted to be pretty much hands on and fluid with content.  You can contact them here
  • Pulse Creative Marketing has a transparent pricing structure and has some great examples of new business startup sites.   You can access them here

New Business Startup tip No 7

Marketing and PR are essential to getting your business to the right target market.  Make sure you get some quality marketing and PR advice, or even some marketing coaching.

To think about

  • There are many companies who provide marketing coaching to help you determine the research you need to undertake, target the right customers, and networks, and get involved in the right events to make your business work. It can help you to focus on where you want to extend your efforts in the early days and as your business expands.

Where to go

  • Your business enterprise advisor will recommend local marketing expertise.  I am working with Pulse Creative Marketing.   They have some great ideas and help keep me focused on what I need to do.  They offer a really useful no obligation  free marketing review.  They also hold free Marketing Magic seminars on a regular basis.  For information on Marketing Magic, click here.  For general information you can find them here

New Business Startup tip No 8

Social Media and business networking are essential.  Do your homework before joining and make sure that the network group is right for your kind of business before committing to subscription based networks. 

To think about

  • Online communities are growing especially on social networking sites like Facebook, Linked in and twitter.   At the very least sign up with these.  But do not limit your online social media with just these three, there are many more.  Much depends on how much time you have to develop relationships.  Also search to find and join industry specific groups.
  • There are many business networking groups based regionally.  Networks can be great resources, offering news, learning and training events for members.  These can help keep you up to date and current on many subjects. Some of these are free resources and some are subscription based.  Do your homework before joining and make sure that the network group is right for your kind of business before committing to subscription based networks
  • Join a local daily business news network.  It really pays to keep up with what is happening in your sector on a daily basis.

Where to go

  • As far as networking groups go, much depends on where you feel your business best fits.  Some good subscription based networking groups are your local Chamber of Commerce,  the North East Chamber can be found here.   The Federation of Small Businesses can be found here.   I joined Service Network, part of Entrust.  They have some really great relevant events for both new business startup and existing businesses.  They can be found here.
  • A couple of free network groups are The Mussel Club found here, or The Bridge Club found here.  Although not subscription based, they will charge a small fee for most events.
  • I get most of my information about what goes on in the region from BDaily, with free online subscription.  They have a real hands on community feel.  You can join up here.  They have a dedicated sector focus on enterprise and new business startup. It’s also useful to subscribe to industry specific communities and news sheets.

New Business Startup tip No 9

Get your location right.  You may need premises, a virtual office or work from home.   To be effective you may want to use a combination of these.

To think about

  • You need to think not only about the cost of hiring any premises, but also insurance costs while you are using the premises.   You also need to make sure that if you work from home, your home insurance covers you.
  • If you work from home and wish to meet clients, you need to give some thought and maybe visit some local hotels to see if they have a business area you can use as a virtual office.
  • If you work from home, you may wish to consider hiring a PO box or linking with a local enterprise centre who can offer virtual office facilities.

Where to go

  • Newcastle library hires conference and meeting rooms.  For more information click here.  North East BIC also offers conference room facilities and room hire along with virtual office facilities.  For more information click here.

New Business Startup tip No 10

You will need a business bank account, and appropriate business insurance.  Some websites offer a wizard to work through so you can determine the type and level of insurance you need

To think about

  • Most banks offer free banking for the first year for new business startup.  There will be a monthly charge, but transactions are not billed.  Be aware that this will be a further cost for year two.
  • Banks offer a range of services included in their business bank account provision.  Use a comparison website, or do your research to see which one will be best for you.
  • Business insurance is not a one size fits all and you need to make sure your insurance is customised and contains all the elements you need.  Use a good comparison site to help you work through the maze of what’s on offer.
  • If you are submitting tenders for contracts there will undoubtedly be insurance requirements.  If this is over and above your regular insurance specification then make sure you cost this in.

Where to go

  • Your best bet is to search on the web.  There are many comparison websites and you will find several to help.   I used my personal bankers as they offered a good service, it included a data back-up service which is invaluable, and I can view all my accounts together online.
  • Industry specific insurance is usually more competitive and can provide details which more general insurance companies miss.  This should be your first search.

I hope you found these top tips for new business startup useful.  I would love to hear from you if they have helped.

Good luck with your venture!

For more information visit www.peoplediscovery.co.uk or email info@peoplediscovery.co.uk

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22nd Feb 2016 07:05

Hi, I am David and I give lesson on guitars.

I am planning to start my own business of guitars and I completely agree with your point #6.

A website is a great tool to target the right audience and to reach out to the large people around the world.

You have shared so many wonderful tips which I would follow in my online business.

Thanks & Regards

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