So You’re Thinkng of Starting a Business

So You’re Thinking of Starting a Business


With the number of Start Ups in Britain looking set to reach an all-time record (with an estimated 500,000 launching in 2013 according to Start Up Britain) entrepreneurial spirit is booming and could be set to help drive us out of the recession.


For those looking to set out on their own to realise their ambition of starting, running and growing their own successful business, the need to put the right foundations in place are essential if you are going to stand a good chance of reaping the rewards of all the hard work and effort that lies ahead.


Whilst you may be brilliant at what you do – running a successful business is about much more than being good at the job – whatever it is you plan to do and sell.


Here are some key points to remember when launching a small business:


1)      Plan it – and we are not just talking business plans here. There are some more fundamental things you need to think about and answer before you jump in. Why are you starting a business? What do you want it to do? How do you want it to work?  What type of customer experience do you want to give? Having the right financial plan in place is vital but it is only a small part of it.


2)      Think about the Long Game First – (also relevant for people who are already out there running a business) – where would you like to be in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years time? Set yourself some targets that you would like to reach through the evolution of the business and from there think back to your business now, thus creating milestone targets from day one. If you don’t have a target how do you know where you are aiming? The Long Game will help you set a list of objectives and put your stepping stones to success in place from the outset. By using this as a route map you will also be able to benchmark yourself against your aims and they will help you recognise if something is not right en route to your objectives.


3)      Plan for growth – if one of your objectives is to grow the business, plan to do this from day one and think about how that will happen.  What key roles will you need to create and what organisational structure will you need to have? That way you will be better placed to bring people into defined roles when the time arrives and will have systems in place to help this happen more smoothly.


4)      Structures – Think about your sales, systems and operations (how things get done). Think about systems that will help the business run more efficiently and implement them from day one. Write down the way that you work in different areas of the business and create a process or processes and document them for the business. That way as you grow – there are already systems in place which will help that will enable the growth process to happen more smoothly.


5)      Create a business that can work without you being in it. It may on the surface sound strange for a start-up to take this approach, but this is one of the biggest future problems you could be storing up by not thinking about it. If you are going to be tied to the business so much so that when you are not there it does not or cannot operate properly then you are limiting your opportunities for growth. Whilst you may want to be hands on and steer the business – effectively being the business will create potential problems and leave you unable to get out.  You will also reduce the ultimate value of the business if you have to be there for it to work – would you buy such a business?


6)      Look at the numbers – Your business needs to work financially and you need to make a profit. The more you can look at this and get it right from day one the better. No Cash, no business.  No profit, no business. You can have all the turnover in the world but if there is no profit to reward your hard work and effort then there is something wrong.  Equally you can have profit, but if you don’t have the cash from that profit you won’t have a business either!


7)      Sales and Marketing – every business no matter how small has to market and promote itself. So before you launch, spend time understanding who your customers are, where they are, where they will come from, is what you are offering or selling them something they will want or need and at what price/prices will they be happy to pay. Think about the ways in which you can reach them and communicate to them and how you will appeal to them. Do your market research first – are there enough customers out there to make the figures work? And before you start looking at advertising are there other more cost effective means of getting out to customers – PR in local and regional press, social media, going out and seeing people and groups. Targeting specific areas and speaking to people who live and work there. Exactly who are you hoping to sell your services/products to?  If you answer anyone that wants it/them then the chances are the business will fail.  The pricing, marketing and operations of your business are all dependent upon this fundamental question.  It is imperative that you define exactly who you expect to be your customers.


Running a business and seeing it grow can be extremely rewarding – personally, financially and professionally and will take lots of hard work and effort. Putting the foundations in place and thinking about how you want your business to grow from the outset will help you overcome some of the classic barriers to growth.

If you would like to know more about setting up and growing your business or are running a business and would like to discuss ways to make it grow and plan for and implement successful growth strategies then talk to Gain.

We work with small to medium sized businesses, enabling them to grow through understanding their business and what the numbers are telling them and supporting and enabling that growth through proactive, forward-looking business management and management information as well as providing in-house marketing and communications expertise – a rare but highly effective set of skills to be able to offer under one roof.


For more information visit: or call us on 01872 560326.