5 tips to prepare your business for success
By Paul Waite on
Starting a business is not easy - but with the right advice, at the right time, you can give yourself the best possible chance of success as we discuss.
How can I prepare my business for success?
Whether you have an entirely new business or one that needs a revamp, establishing a business is a major decision. Operating a successful business requires total dedication, which can even pit the entrepreneur with family and friends.
Comparatively few businesses survive for even three years – but there are simple preparation steps that can be taken to avoid disaster. Too few entrepreneurs take the trouble to properly plan. It may sound clichéd, but failing to plan is planning to fail.
I have an idea for a business – where do I start?
During the early stages of a business’ lifecycle, you may know what you’d like to achieve. But the most important thing to ask is: do I have something that can be sold, and is there a market for it? If no one will buy your product, your business will fail. Whether a service or a product, market research is essential. The depth of the research will depend on the entrepreneur’s level of experience.
We all know cash is king. How can I maximise cash flow, especially in the early days?
By taking steps to generate income as early and regularly as possible, you can relieve cashflow pressure. Invoice discounting is another great choice, as it allows you to grow free from working capital pressure. Look at ways to minimise your overheads or streamline processes. There are also many ways for an entrepreneur to fund their business – from grants to friends and family or invoice financing. Effective use of technology can quickly recover any initial investment in time-savings alone.
What are the key things to consider when planning a business?
As someone who has helped hundreds of people grow their own companies, the following areas should be considered and appropriate advice sought: the structure of the company, including shareholders agreements; staffing, facilities and funding and your target market, how you will reach them and what your core message is.
Marketing and branding are exceptionally important – clearly communicating your message to prospective customers helps build your initial client base and revenues. Positioning yourself differently to your competition is essential.
Who can help me access the support I need?
When starting out, using a quality accountant pays dividends. By taking care of company structure, compliance, bookkeeping, VAT, forecasting and budgets, you gain a clear view of your business, which helps in making better decisions. It is important to have trusted advisers and to act on their advice.
Equally, if you are lacking a required skill, it is better to seek external expertise rather than attempting it yourself – you will save time, money, and the result will be of a far higher standard.