No matter how confident you are in your business plan, there are going to be unexpected challenges for your new venture – the sort of hidden obstacles that partially account for the sobering statistics on failure rates.
How do you make sure yours is NOT one of the 80% of businesses that fail in their first year, according to sobering figures from the Office for National Statistics?
It helps if you read the small print. In other words, consider the little things that can trip you up, even if you’ve invested lots of time and effort into modelling your venture.
Be ready for anything
Expect the unexpected! Who could foresee a global pandemic that would create a challenging economic landscape? Also, leaving the EU has not made post-Brexit obligations and ramifications crystal clear. As such, you need to have a crisis management plan in place.
Running your own business – particularly when multi-tasking in the early days – can be a rather solitary endeavour. The long hours may cut you off from family too. Build-in virtual or physical contact and join forums to share best practice.
Business accounting needs focus
One of the best things about being your own boss is being in charge of every aspect of your finances, and knowing that profit equals your potential salary. However, the reality is that accounting and financial control can be complex and problematic, from juggling cash flow, wages or inventory costs to submitting an on-time and accurate corporation tax return.
Get your stall laid out thoroughly!
Demands of digital marketing
The internet offers incredible ways to launch and promote a business, including a 24-hour worldwide shopfront and the powerful marketing punch of social media.
The ‘small print’ is that it’s too easy to waste time and money on ineffectual digital marketing, including a fabulous looking website that fails to attract enough sales. You must get familiar with terms such as social media strategy, lead generation and conversion, search engine optimisation and user experience (UX).
Cheaper is not always better
The expression ‘you get what you pay for’ is highly significant for successful new businesses. Use sound market intelligence to find the best fit, not the lowest price.
Technology is not just something you need for practical purposes. Getting the right hardware and software for your digital workplace can be the difference between running a business and growing a business.
Find scalable solutions (which grow with you), that are highly user-friendly and tailored to your sector.
Lastly, an important piece of the small print for business start-ups is that you will need help!
Seize any professional advice, information and support you are offered as well as constantly making new business connections to give you a lift.
The Federation of Small Businesses can be a good source of start-up advice.