Top five tips for starting a business

Philip MooresPHILIP Moores, left, runs Peterborough Workspace – affordable premises with support network for small businesses in Peterborough. Here are his top five tips for start-up businesses:

1. Do what you love. Your new business will take over your life and for you to make it a success you will have to invest a lot of time and effort, it is very import therefore that you love what you do. “If you start a business you love, you will never work a day in your life.”

2. Know your market. It is vital that you do your research, you may think that you have the best product in the world but if no one wants to buy it you will not be successful. Identify your competitors and be clear what will differentiate you from them and thus why people should buy from you and not your competitors.

3. Draw up a business plan. I would say that the one thing that differentiates the good business from the not so good is a business plan which is regularly reviewed. The business plan is a living document so the plan that you start out with should be revised and updated as the business plan grows. I would include the following in a business plan:-
a) A description of the business including its aims and objectives.
b) A description of the products and services.
c) The market that the business is hoping to sell into both now and in the future.
d) The marketing strategy of the business including an understanding of where customers come from, how they will find you and how will you promote your business.
e) The production needs of the company including the tools and premises required.
f) The financial needs of the company.
g) The management and staffing policy for the business, both now and in the future.
One of the big advantages of having a business plan is that potential investors/lenders can see quickly the benefit of committing funds to your business.
To begin with, the plan can be quite simple and straightforward and as the business grows, it may evolve into something more complex.

4. Make sure that you have sufficient funds to get started. Initially when you start out in business you will incur expenditure, you need to be clear that you have sufficient funds to cover this expenditure until you start selling your products/services.

5. Attend the relevant Business Link courses and speak to your Business Link advisor. Business Link provide a lot of help and support for businesses starting out and through them you will learn out the areas which are mandatory for a business (tax and NI etc) but also be clear on the areas were you will need additional help and support.