Have you been sitting at your job for years, dreaming about starting your own small business, but didn’t have enough courage for it — now is the time! So much has changed since the whole world was turned upside down with the pandemic in 2020 - the way we do things has changed, and among the bad, this has opened up a lot of opportunities.
If you’ve ever listened to owners of successful businesses, you probably know that you don’t have to have a university degree or millions of pounds in the bank but rather the drive to succeed, commitment to work hard, and a smart business idea that will bring some value to your customer.
So if you’re asking yourself how to start a small business to ensure your success, look no further! Here are 10 steps you need to follow in order to start a business successfully, take each one a day at a time. Don’t rush the process and you’re well on your way to small business success.
1. It all Starts With You
Before you do anything ask yourself - why do you want to start your own small business? Is it something you have always wanted to do but never had the time or courage to take the leap? Do you want away from the 9 to 5 and gain more control over your life? Whatever it is write it down and don't forget it - running a small business is hard and in the tough times remembering your "why" can give you the motivation to keep going.
Now that you know your "why", ask yourself these questions to further pin down what type of business you should start and if it is likely to succeed -
What are your skills?
Do you have the tools needed to start a small business? If not are you willing to learn?
What are you passionate about and how will it help other people?
What is your area of expertise?
How much can you afford to spend?
How much will you need to spend?
What kind of lifestyle do you want to live?
Are you sure you’re ready to be an entrepreneur?
Take your time to answer these questions and make sure you answer them truthfully, these answers will build the foundation of your business so it is best to answer them honestly at the start.
2. Choose Your Idea
For your business to succeed you need to be passionate about what you do - you may have the most revolutionary idea but deep down if you don't really connect with that idea, when times get hard you will not be motivated to keep going, ultimately ending in the failure of your business.
Secondly, to succeed your business needs to solve a problem, fulfill a need, or offer something the market wants. This can be anything from helping people live more healthily to socks that keep your feet warm to chocolate with zero calories!
When you have an idea in mind, be truthful with yourself and ask is this something people want/need? If the answer is yes, drill down some more and answer these questions:
What is the need for your “new” products/services?
Who needs it?
Who else offers this similar product/service?
Right now, what is the competition like?
Where does your business fit into the market?
3. Choose Your Business Name
You now know what your business is and what product or service it will provide so it's time to choose a name! This is easier said than done...
The best thing to do is brainstorm all possible names, this could be works or phrases relating to your business product or service, or perhaps you want to have your own name included.
Once you have a few ideas, check no other businesses have the same name. This can be done by a quick google search! And you can also check Companies House (Companies House - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)) to find out if any formally registered companies with the same name.
Make sure you choose a name that:
Relates to your product/service
Stands out from competitors
Is not already trademarked
4. Develop a Plan
It can be easy to skip over the planning stage and jump straight into the more exciting things however this is a crucial step to ensure you start on the right foot and don't waste time at the beginning stages of your journey.
A business plan is a map that guides your business from start-up to establishment to growth – it is key for every new business to develop. If you are looking for financial investment a traditional business plan is critical, however for most businesses a more simple plan can be used. Business Gateway has a great free template which can you find here -
Or you can simply create one yourself, by working through the below:
Title page. Write down the name of your business! (Or the proposed name of your business)
Executive summary. This is best to be completed once you have filled in everything else. This gives an overall summary of your business plan.