Successfully running your own business is a very rewarding journey, both financially and personally.
However, any experienced entrepreneur will tell you that successfully getting a new business off the ground in the first place is probably the hardest part of this journey.
So here are a few tips to keep in mind before you start your business if you do not want it to end up as just another statistic of start-up failure.
1. Get your first customer
It is essential that you reel in your first customer before you start your business. This will go a long way in keeping your business’ cash flow healthy in this very critical time.
2. Have a safety net
Have a year’s worth of salary in the bank before you start your business. This will come in as a handy safety net and will also allow you not have to touch the business’ revenue for personal use, which once again is great for its cash flow in this very critical time.
3. Do your homework
Research and check out what other businesses similar to yours are around your area, learn from both their successes and mistakes as best as you can.
4. Know your customers in and out
Customers – without them you don’t have a business. So understand who they are (and please don’t say the general public), then understand what makes them tick and segment accordingly. Pro tip: think beyond just demographics and consider lifestyle characteristics and whether these affect their buying behaviour.
5. Get your A Team in place
These are the people who will help you keep your business running in order, and they include your accountant, solicitor, business advisor/mentor and marketing expert.
6. Create systems
Put systems in place for your business, no matter how small it may be. All great businesses have great systems in place that create and ensure consistent efficiency.
7. Choose what your brand will be…
Understand that your brand is more than just your logo; it is the image of your business as a whole. Be consistent with how you present this; don’t let your brand be schizophrenic.
8. …and choose wisely at that
Make your brand work while you sleep – it’s easier for customers to relate to and remember your brand name if it conjures up images of your desired brand personality. Pro tip: avoid acronyms or made up names – they are easy to forget and require more effort to explain.
9. Register everything
This includes the business name, trade marks (in all relevant classes) and all domain names (including similar ones so that other businesses cannot use them). Get expert help but please be careful not to get ripped off, ipaustralia.gov.au is a handy resource to check out.
10. Have an escape plan
Your business should have an exit strategy right from the very start to in order to keep your options open down the road as scenarios change.
Don’t get frozen in strategising though, once you have a plan of action, just do it!
Jacki Mitchell is the host of Taking Care of Business 98.7FM and a brand management consultant.