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7 Tips for starting a new business

Starting a new business can be a daunting experience. The amount of ‘what if’ questions bouncing around in your head can often be overwhelming at times, Who are my customers?, How much stock do I need?, What part of town should I open up in?, this list can be endless. But before you start to abandon your dream read these 7 tips which will hopefully help you to box off some of the questions and give you the headspace to continue.

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1: Be sure there is a demand for what you are selling or service you are providing

Selling a service you think people want to buy and stocking items that might sell seems one of the first things that spring to mind when you are considering starting a new business, but you would be surprised how many people don’t think this through properly. Its no good just selling the same product as everyone else – unless yours is better or cheaper. Why would a customer buy from you rather their existing supplier?

2. Have realistic expectations

In the early stages its very easy to be carried away dreaming of your future success, you need to keep yourself grounded and be realistic about what success you can expect in the early months, the more pessimistic you are here the less likely you will be to throw in the towel if you haven’t become a millionaire in the first year of trading. By not being so optimistic means that you are likely to only order a small amount of stock, rent small premises and keep your overheads down to a minimum until you have started to make a go of it and you can afford to do things better.

3. Business Location

The importance of your business location can differ enormously from one business to another. For example if you are selling flowers then you need to be on or just off the high street, its important that your customers can walk to your shop, your customers are less likely to want to drive to an out of town retail park to visit you, unless you are selling the flower in wholesale quantities. Likewise if your selling industrial items then of course the high street is not for you.

4. Do your Homework

You need to gen yourself up on your competition, checkout where they are, what they do and what they do best. How could you do it better, how can you compete – what doesn’t work for them, can you improve on it? Its sounds underhanded but – you could go undercover and become a mystery shopper, pretend to be interested in their products and gain as much information about their operation. Knowledge is power.

5. Get online, but do it properly    

These days unless you have a high street shop window, the first thing your potential customers will do once they have heard about you is to look at your website. All businesses are now online, this is possibly your best chance at making a good first impression, a poor quality website that you produced yourself is not going to cut it – so make sure you have budgeted to get your website produced professionally it will be well worth it in the long run.

6. Have credibility and build on it.

You are best to build a business based around something you are not only passionate about but knowledgeable too. You’d be surprised how many people see an opportunity for a new business and know nothing about the product or service. As soon as a customer calls you to ask about the details then your flawed, they will see straight through you and your credibility, as a supplier will crumble. There is nothing worse than buying from someone who doesn’t understand what they are selling. Understand what you are selling to the point of being an expert, give your customers confidence in you and your company will be trusted.

7. Promotion

Once you have the big idea for the business, you need to tell people about it. The more people you tell the more chance you have. Think about a leaflet drop in your local area. You can get a leaflet designed and 5000 copies printed for less than £150.00, door drop these and you’ve already started the ball rolling with getting in front of your potential customers. To save money, then post them yourself or ask for help from friends or family. The more people are talking about you the more chance people will be interested in what your selling. Keep reminding your friends and relatives to help you spread the word. Social networking is brilliant for this, put posts up on Facebook and ask your online friends to share your posts, the biggest the audience the more chance you have of potential customers knowing about you.

Having said all the above, there is still an element of risk involved in starting any business, the more you protect yourself against risk the better chance of success. But don’t be afraid, unless you make that leap to starting your own business you will never know if it will work. Good luck!

 

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