Self-Employment - Is it the right option for me?
Taking the plunge into starting your own business can seem scary but here are some handy tips into getting started.
Setting up your Business
There are many factors that go into deciding if and when to set up your own business. The economy is an important factor, with claims that it’s better to set up your own business during a recession and an equal amount arguing it’s better to set up a business during a boom. There are positives and negatives to both sides of the argument but if you are dedicated and take all the necessary steps, your business will be a success.
Financial stability and a substantial amount of time are also important. Before a profit can be made, a lot of money and time will go into helping get your business off the ground. It is important to decide whether this is feasible before getting started and if it’s not then there are options to help you out. A Government Scheme may help you financially and starting your business with a friend or relative may help you with time management.
Before you can do anything, you need an idea for your business, one that has been well researched. Make sure your idea hasn’t been done before and has a target market.
To appropriately plan your idea, consider creating a business plan. This will help you find your target market, research your idea and will help you get financial help if you need it.
Your business plan should identify:
- What your business will do
- The products or services it will provide
- How customers will access your products or services (online, phone or in a shop for example)
- How you will price your products
- Customer profile (consider their age, job, lifestyle, what they get from competitors, what more they could get from your business etc)
- A comparison of your business to competitors
- Financial and business goals for both long and short term
- How you want to promote your business
- Evaluation of costs and expenses for profit
Identifying your customers and their needs will help develop your product or services. Using a prototype of your product or service will help you test out how your customers will react to your business and will help you learn more about your customer. Market research not only helps to identify your target customers but also helps you to identify an appropriate marketing strategy.
Quantitative surveys are made up of closed questions, for example, how often you buy gardening products, with a set amount of answers ranging from never to often. This will help you learn about your customer.
Qualitative surveys are open questions and ask questions about people’s opinions on a particular subject for example how they feel about your product. This will help you learn how to improve your product or services.
Once your business plan is set in stone and you’re confident your target market will buy your products or services, you can apply for funding to get your business going.
The two main ways to get funding are Government Schemes or a Bank Loan. To see if you’re eligible for a Government Scheme you can use the Finance Finder. Bank Loans can be a little risky as they come with interest on top of the money you pay back and some banks require a ‘security’ on your loan for example your house or car.
However you decide to start off your business, ensure you do your research and find an option that is suitable for you.
Through your market research you should have found out all sorts of information about your target market, information you can use to create a marketing strategy. Effective market research should find out if the target market prefers TV to radio, for example, as well as what channels they normally watch and at what time such as ITV from 7pm. From this information, a TV advert to be played around 7pm on ITV would be the most effective way to get your business in the public eye.
Digital marketing is gaining more and more momentum so having a business page on one or multiple social media sites will expand the number of people who know about your business. While using social media is incredibly popular nowadays, it is only effective if the target market are using the social media site.
For more details on self-employment, how to begin and to get support in starting your own business come along to Ansbury’s ‘Exploring Self Employment Workshops’ every Tuesday at the Ansbury Office in Poole.
To book your place call 01202 677557