My top tips for starting a business
Running your own business certainly isn’t for everyone. It can be extremely stressful, time-consuming and unpredictable. If you like knowing exactly how much money you have coming in each month, and the safety net of sick pay, it may not be for you. But, there are a lot of benefits too.
I love what I do. If my business closed tomorrow, I would still keep making my beauty products (albeit in much smaller quantities!) I love the fact that I can choose my own hours; I have a stall at a farmers’ market on Saturdays, but take Mondays off to look after my granddaughter. And it’s wonderful to not answer to anyone except myself.
If you’re thinking of starting your own business, read on for my top tips….
Love what you do. If you’re starting a business, you really need to be passionate about what you’re selling. You have to find real enjoyment in your work, otherwise what’s the point?
Be honest with yourself. You need to know your limitations. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Prepare for tough times. Even the most successful business will have stumbling points. And there may well be some lean times ahead. Do you have savings? Do you have a network of people you can reply on to help if you suddenly have an extra large order to deal with, or if your child gets sick?
Know when to ask for help. Whether it’s asking a family member for advice about social media, or handing your tax return over to an account, don’t be afraid to ask for support. You may be multi-talented; you may be a great multi-tasker; but you can’t shine at every single area of your business. If you can hand some of your weaker areas over to other people, it will give you more time to focus on the areas you excel at.
Get business-savvy. I really wish I had been a bit more savvy before I started my business. I’ve had to learn the hard way. I’ve struggled with cash flow, battled with suppliers who haven’t delivered what they promised and spent too much time focusing on areas that were never going to work for me. Write a business plan and get your head around the business basics you need to know, from record keeping to marketing.
Know your customers. Who is going to buy from you? What will motivate them to choose your business over another? How old are they? How do they like to be communicated with? How are you going to let them know about what you can offer them?
Go where your customers are. You need to market yourself, and you need to go where your customers are; don’t wait for them to come to you. You may have wonderful products and a beautiful website or shop, but if no one knows they exist, you’ll fail. Along with marketing, PR and social media, it’s important to meet some of your customers in person. I have a stall at various local markets, for example.
Look after yourself. Running a business can be all consuming. It’s all too easy to find yourself working very long hours. But, it’s so important to look after your health – both physically and mentally. Allow yourself proper lunch breaks, get out into nature, exercise, eat healthily and make time for friends and family. If you don’t, you’ll soon resent your business and stop enjoying it. What’s more, your health could suffer, and no amount of success is worth that.
Finally, you will make mistakes. It’s inevitable. You need to dust yourself off, stop berating yourself and acknowledge what you’ve learnt and what needs to change.
What are your top tips for start-up businesses? Tweet me @NaryndaSkincare