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Thinking of starting a new business? 4 things you need to be aware of
If you are considering running your own company, you could have this blissful, romantic notion of being able to casually type away at your laptop at home, never needing to leave the house. You would work when you want to, rather than when you have to, and be held to account by no-one but yourself. However, running a business is not necessarily as straightforward as this picture would suggest. Here are some vital things to consider if you are a would-be business owner.
Time is of the essence
Time is something that many of us often seem eager for more of. However, for you, the apparent scarcity of time could seem even greater were you to take on running your own company. One big reason why is that, upon first starting your business, it could take a while for it to start regularly bringing in enough money for it to reliability replace the main job that you have now. Thus, you would need effective time management skills in order to balance everything well.
Key to success here is knowing which tasks to most prioritise. Deciding to categorise a particular task as relatively unimportant, against your initial judgement, could give you much anguish. However, the financial self-help site Money Crashers explains that failing to learn how to prioritise responsibilities could lead you to alienate customers that are crucial to your company's success.
If you reckon that your corporate time management skills could benefit from a brush-up, consider these tips from Entrepreneur. They include securing a "Do not disturb" sign to the door of a room when you are carrying out urgent work in it and blocking out such distractions as Facebook and other social media networks - unless, of course, you rely on them for your business.
Money, money, money
The Swedish pop band ABBA recognised the need to pay close attention to money - at least judging from their hit 1976 song "Money, Money, Money". In fact, hefty financial expenditure is often necessary for getting a new company off the ground. However, reading this could leave you with a lump in your throat - especially if, as is the case with many people, you are mulling over starting a business exactly because you are currently short of money.
You can't get away from your company's need for capital - and, while you are unable to guarantee a company's success by investing money, your company could be an almost guaranteed failure if it lacks sufficient tender. Therefore, before getting it all started, carefully calculate the required amount of money for both starting and maintaining the business.
A few basic items that you might have to spend on include business cards, accounting software and your firm's website. Furthermore, depending on what type of work your business will do, you could find that you are legally required to take out certain forms of corporate insurance.
That will necessitate regular monetary outlay. However, an independent insurance broker like the United Kingdom-based Be Wiser Business Insurance could help you to weigh up different insurance policies as you look for the most financially attractive deal.
The need to play the long game
The early bird might sometimes get the worm, but you can't be certain of being so lucky so soon in your business-running endeavours. In fact, you could find that, for you, it is slow and steady that wins the race. An especially good reason to buy into this philosophy is that you shouldn't expect every aspect of running the company to go completely hitch-free - particularly in the early days.
Making mistakes can frustrate when they lose you money. However, if you carefully dissect them and learn from them, the lessons could serve you wonderfully well in the long term. You also need to realise that making every single customer happy could be an impossibility. Should you struggle to make progress with an awkward customer, just learn what you can from the ordeal and move on. That customer's awkwardness might not have been any of your doing.
You also need to remember that some of your corporate responsibilities could be akin to taking medicine. This is in the sense that, while you know that doing the task will ultimately benefit you, the process of doing that task could leave a sour taste in the mouth. We are particularly thinking of such needs as completing taxes and taking care of advertising. Have patience when handling these jobs - and acknowledge that they are simply an aspect of operating a fruitful business.
Don't call off the research
Even if you have the best and most revolutionary business idea since the iPhone, that's just the start. You also need to consider how you would turn that idea into a tangible product that people can easily buy. You should consider, for example, whether you would need some physical retail space in which to offer your product. Some goods could look better on public display at a physical shop - and, with other products, you could stick to e-commerce and so save money on overheads.
If you do decide to invest in bricks and mortar outlets, your company remains likely to require its own website and social media pages, too. Concerning those channels, factors that you should thoroughly research include what kind of online persona your firm should adopt. Furthermore, for a new business, advertising will be vital for getting the word out.
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