04 Dec 2019
Starting your own business can feel daunting, especially when it’s your first time going it alone – but it doesn’t have to be. If you put in the groundwork before you get started you’ll be able to save yourself lots of time and effort in the long run. So here’s five things you should get in place before you start putting your business out there.
Research the market
Market research is an important step in setting up a business of any nature. This gives you key insights into where your business fits in, the demand for your products or services and what your competitors are doing with their products. If your business is at the idea stage, this is a great way to gauge customer reactions and see whether there is a need for your product or service.
Researching gives you the opportunity to see whether your business idea is viable or whether it needs more work before investing more time and money into it. At St Helens Chamber, our start up team can help you research the market and provide detailed business information.
Create a business plan
Like most things, a plan is integral for a successful project. A good business plan helps you focus when you’re juggling multiple tasks, reminding you of your goals and the exact steps you need to take to reach them. Your business plan should detail everything you need to successfully launch your business; from detailed information about your direction and contingency plans in case something unexpected comes your way.
A business plan isn’t just reserved for before you start your business – your plan should grow and evolve with your business and always be a working document. Our Start Up team have put together some handy tips on how to make the most of your business plan with our guide and business plan templates.
Choose a name
Choosing your business name is a decision which shouldn’t be taken lightly! Your business name is a main feature of your branding as a whole and you should be sure that it reflects what your company does and is something you’ll be happy with for years to come. When naming your company, there are a few outside factors you should consider – like whether it relates well to your company’s products or services. As many customers will use Google when looking for answers, it may be useful to consider whether your company name will appear in searches relating to your product, as this can help increase your chances of being found by the right customers.
You should also consider whether your business’ name is memorable, easy to spell and pronounce. If it isn’t, you may find customers misspelling your business’ name when making recommendations which could mean you miss out on another customer and this can be damaging to your brand. Finally, checking if your business name is already in use by another business will save you a lot of time when you come to register your business; sites such as Companies House can help you research this. You could also consider trademarking your business/product’s name to ensure that no one else can use it.
If you need some guidance on the do’s and don’ts of starting a business, our Start Up team can offer free, impartial advice.
Build your online presence
Once you have a name and a concept, it’s time to buy a website domain and reserve social media handles for your business. If you’re not experienced in web development, you can enlist the help of a professional to make your website really stand out – or you can create something simpler using a tool such as WordPress to capture any leads from customers.
Registering your domain and social media handles early helps ensure that no one else takes the name you need and you can focus your efforts on building your brand with everything you need. Our start up team can help you start building a brand, from idea stage to 12 months post start up.
Get your finances in order
An important step for any business owner is to ensure they have the funds available to start up their business. St Helens Chamber’s Start Up team work with hundreds on entrepreneurs and can help identify funding which might be available to help you get started; your expert business adviser can also help you apply for this funding and much more.
As part of Enterprise Hub, St Helens Chamber can provide free, impartial advice to aspiring business owners or those in the first three years of trading. Our advisers can help you with anything from funding to marketing and can help turn your ideas into achievable goals to help grow your business.
If you’re thinking about starting your own business but aren’t sure where to start, come along to our Be Your Own Boss event, 15th January – where you can chat informally with our team and other local entrepreneurs to see how our support could help you start up your own business.
To find out more about our Start Up support, book a place online or call on 0845 340 9980