If you’re thinking of starting a business, it won’t just be Harry and Meghan’s footsteps you’ll be walking in.
A huge number of people are feeling inspired to translate their passions into livelihoods, and in 2018 alone we saw a staggering 31% rise in people looking to go freelance.
As Bea Montoya, Chief Operating Officer at Simply Business explains going it alone can be daunting, and there are a number of challenges that come with running a business – from income tax to insurance – which may be outside of your comfort zone. There’s plenty of help out there and the first step is often the most difficult.
Give your business the royal treatment: The big idea and knowing your customer
Once you have your big idea you’ll need to get to know your audience. Testing your product and iterating based on feedback is a great way to ensure you’re building what’s right for your customer. Doing this early, before investing too heavily, can help to validate your business idea and save a lot of money in the process.
Staying regal: Her Majesty’s (aka. Grandma’s) Revenue & Customs, insurance and ensuring you remain legal
It’s not the most exciting part of starting a business but making sure you’re on the right side of any rules, regulations, and legalities is essential. Registering your business with HMRC should be a priority and it will inform how much tax you need to pay. You can do this online at gov.uk. You’ll also need to decide on the structure of your company (sole trader, limited company or a partnership).
Depending on your trade or profession, you may need a certain certification or follow specific rules and requirements. This can vary across sectors so be sure to know your obligations.
Legally you may also require business insurance, such as public or employers’ liability insurance. A public liability policy protects against damage to third party property or individuals, whereas employers’ liability is a necessity if you have staff. It’s vital to do your research and protect yourself financially should the worst happen.
Don’t make a monarchy of your marketing plan
The phrase ‘marketing plan’ can be intimidating but it needn’t be. You don’t need an MBA or heaps of cash to effectively bring in new customers.
After your website, social media should be front of mind. Consider what platforms work for your business and go from there. You don’t need a presence on all of them. Have you got a beautiful, visual product? Instagram could be the ticket. A local service? Make the most of Facebook’s suite of tools.
But don’t ignore the power of flyers, local PR, and good old word of mouth. Try to source testimonials from happy customers and shout about them loud and often.
Give yourself a period of transition and reflection
It’s easy to get caught up in the pace of starting up, but it’s important to dedicate time for reflection and analysis. What’s worked well? What could have gone better? Where are your sales coming from? How are your profit margins looking?
Once you’re through month one, block out some time to look through your sales or billing, check your biggest source of income, and investigate any stumbles or spikes in business. Then you’ll be set to plan goals or objectives for the months ahead.
Power couple: A life and business partner
While Harry and Meghan may not end up working together, there are advantages to going into business with a partner or spouse.
For example, being able to make the most of shared resources and complementary talents is a big bonus. And you never know, If your business is successful you may one day want to pass it on to your children as the next in line (we’re looking at you, Archie)…