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A Beginner’s Guide To: Small Businesses In 2019

Published: 25th September 2018 | Last Updated: 17th October 2018

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What’s In This Guide

Starting a business is an exciting journey to say the least. There will be feelings of impatience, happiness, frustration, proud moments and more. Before you get to that stage, there are a few things that you should consider, which we will go through in this handy, helpful guide. If you invest time upfront by planning your business properly, you are more likely to reap rewards in the long run. This article provides you with the tools and information you need to succeed.

There are around 5.7 million small to medium businesses in the UK. You can certainly see the benefits of setting up a small business…

  • You get a chance to be your own boss. No one will tell you what to do.
  • You’ll have the benefit to decide the direction you want your business to take.
  • The ability to implement your ideas without having to consult anybody.
  • You can work from home and have all the freedom. This allows you to free yourself from the stresses of the conventional workplace.

In this article we discussed the following subjects:

1) Where Do I Begin?
2) Challenges Of Starting A Small Business

1) Where Do I Begin?

1. Research Your Idea

To start a business, you need to have a great idea. Make sure that your idea is as unique as it can be, to prevent unnecessary competition. You’ll also need to think of a brilliant business name. Whether it’s a simple name, a play on words or even an acronym; check there isn’t another company out there using the same name. Imagine getting so far down the line, having marketing material printed and made up then realising another company has the same name as yours. Ouch!

graphic of a man with a magnifying glass research smaller people so that he can get marketing ideas

You’ll also need to have the right skills for the business. If you don’t have the business skills, I’d recommend that you consult experts, attend training or read more about the business. Market research is a fantastic way of gathering information regarding your area of business. It will help you understand your possible market share and the different ways you can increase that share.

Will your business need a premises? Will you work from home, contract out or hire your own premises? Consider the cost of the premises before making your decision. Your business will require a phone line and an internet connection at the very least. You need to have a stable internet connection and a good business website. Hiring a website designer may be a good idea, they can help to set up your website and hire a web host to help you manage your site. They’ll also ensure your content is well written and tailored to meet your customer needs if they provide a copy writing service. Make sure that your customers can access the premises if required, it is always important to locate your business near the customer. Obviously, this doesn’t apply if you are an online business.

2. Get Serious

Make sure your business thrives and survives by using a business plan. Doing so will iron out all the details and provide confidence in others investing and working with your business. A business plan is the cornerstone on which everything is built. The plan outlines how your business will be set up, source of funding and strategies you will use to take your business forward. It should also include an overview of your products or services, objectives and marketing plan. In the long run it will help you analyse your competitors and come up with strategies to beat the competition

You need to decide on a pricing strategy that will provide healthy profit margins and help you position your business in the marketplace. Consider – do you have enough capital to start your business? How much money is enough to start a business? It seems like all the successful startups found funding early on, but this isn’t always the case.

It’s a good idea to think about what companies you want to take inspiration from. You can look at how much money they started with and how they used it. Even if your budget is tighter than theirs were you can take ideas and adjust them to suit your business. There are methods for you to consider to help you fund your startup. We recommend checking them out.

If you realise that your idea is not workable, all you need to do is to reassess the idea and tweak. You can look around to see if there is a better business model. This could also help you identify new suppliers who can supply the goods at a lower cost.

3. Lets Talk Figures…

At some point, you’ll need to carry out a cash flow forecast. Use a cash flow forecasting tool such as the one on ANZ Biz Hub to understand your possible cash flow needs. You also need to consider intellectual property protection. These cash flow projections will help you understand if your business is still feasible.

cash flow forecast graph wit green, blue and pink bars

You should now consider registering as self-employed. When you start working on your own, you have a few months to register as self-employed for tax and National Insurance (NI) purposes. You need to call your local tax office to let them know. You will be given a reference number and be invoiced for NI contributions every quarter.

If you have employed a few people to help you in running your business, then it’s up to you to ensure that their National Insurance and tax obligations are met. You need to check up with HMRC before setting up a payroll system.

4. Carry Out A Pre-Launch Check

Build a launch timeline. This shows the dates of launching the business. You also need to open a bank account for the business. A business account will enable you to accept payments and help you to keep on top of finances from day one. You also need to make sure that all systems and processes are planned.

It is also important to estimate the frequency people will purchase from you and develop a plan to be able to deliver. A good cash flow management is another factor you need to start when starting a business. Running your own business means that there is no certainty and monthly outings may exceed what comes in.

It is important to ensure that your records and accounts are kept accurate. This is vital because HM Revenue and Customs decide your tax bill from there. You must also complete annual self-assessment tax returns.

5. Develop A Launch Campaign

We’d suggest creating a website for your first step, but have you already done that? How else can you generate sufficient leads? When starting a business it can be difficult to know where to start. It’s essential to plan, don’t just jump to doing the first thing you’ve read about. Once you’ve set up your website, you will want to focus on promoting your business. Of course you will first need to know who your target audience is. Who am I promoting to? Where can I find them? These are the questions you need to ask yourself.

graphic of a rocket ship launching on a light blue background with lots of white smoke

Social media is a fantastic place to start promoting as almost everyone uses platforms like Facebook. If someone likes the content you share, they are likely to share it with their friends, meaning you’re reaching out to even more people. Have you considered a customer loyalty program? This will help you retain your customers and reward them for being loyal.

6. Prepare For Post Launch Business

Find additional support and advice from professionals and experienced business owners. You should also test your market. This will help you to determine if the customers still want your products. You may go back to step one to check on the market demand before proceeding. Double-check your pricing, and positioning to maximise profits. You are now ready to move to the game of being in business

2) Challenges Of Starting A Small Business

Beginners in the industry can face a variety of challenges. As a business owner, you should be prepared to deal with these challenges. Make sure you have a good understanding of the business before starting out. This understanding means that you already know the possible challenges and their solutions, you’re staying ahead of the game. Below are some of the challenges that small businesses face.

1. Elbowing Rivals Out Of The Way

Staying competitive is one of the biggest challenges faced by small businesses. 7 in 10 small businesses find staying competitive a challenge, with 23% of these businesses saying that it is a major challenge to stay competitive. You need to develop unique strategies that will help beat your competitors. Keep checking what your competitors are doing. You can use their strategies to develop your winning strategy.

2. Building A Cash Pile

Generating cash to take your business to the next level is a big challenge for business owners. 2 in 3 businesses find new revenue growth a challenging affair, with 22% of these business owners saying that it is a major challenge for them. This may arise due to some business owners starting up without a business plan or failure to follow their own plan. This makes it impossible for the business to become profitable.

3. Balancing The Books

Controlling cash flow in a business is a major challenge for small businesses. 3 in 5 business owners say controlling costs is a challenge in their businesses. 1 in 5 of these business owners say that this is a major challenge in their business operations. Smart business owners hire professionals to take care of their finances. They can also use accounting software to balance books.

4. Staying In Safe Hands

2 in 3 business owners perceive security and business continuity as a challenge. 1 in 5 of these business owners perceive this as a major problem. You should outline the steps that you will take to ensure continuity of your business. There should be a clear plan on the steps that will be taken if the business hits a hard rock.

5. Capturing New Customers

Attracting new customers is one of the things every business owner tries to do every day. However, due to increased competition, small businesses find it hard to attract new customers.

graphic of a colourful pastel shop transforming into a two story shop

Finding and retaining customers is challenging for 3 in 5 small organisations. 18% of small organisations find this a major problem. Developing unique strategies can help your business attract and retain customers.

6. Building Financial Muscle

56% of small organisations view raising capital as a challenge. 13% of these organisations view this as a major challenge. Having a good business plan can help you get funding from funding agencies such as the government, banks and other lending institutions.

7. Putting The Right Team Together

Hiring and retaining the right people is a challenge for 56% of small businesses. It is a major challenge for 12% of small businesses. You need to hire people with ambition to succeed. They should also have the same goal of taking your small business to the next level.

In A Nutshell

Don’t rush into things, preparation is key. Spend time putting together a brilliant business plan, then even more time developing a smashing marketing strategy. Don’t be scared to ask for help from the professionals too – that’s what they’re there for!

Continue Reading: 7 SEO Techniques To Grow Your Business In 2019

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Like What You’ve Just Read?

Now you’ve learnt the basics behind running a small business we’re sure you’re eager to learn how an effective website with quality content can boost growth. As too will a proper digital marketing strategy.

These concepts and processes of these topics are discussed in our other Beginner’s Guides articles. We’ve also provided helpful tips and advice, arming you with the basic knowledge to develop your enterprise.

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Looking For A Web Design Company?

As a small business owner, one thing you will require is a high quality website. If you’re ready to consult web design companies you may wonder where on earth to start when deciding which of the UK’s thousand’s you should contact.

Fear not! Web Design Review have researched companies all over the country before publishing detailed reviews and ratings based on our findings. Check out the 10 web designer’s that impressed us below.

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