Journey into the Unknown…
Tried & Tested Tips for Starting a Business
At HelloGrads, we’ve experienced the whole sweep of emotions, from enthusiasm and excitement to exasperation and sheer fear.
Starting a business can be a real roller coaster journey. But for us, the ups beat the downs and OMG we’ve learned so much! From branding to coding, that Photoshop is fun and communication is key (or could have been)! You find you don’t know as much as you thought you did, and that working from home can be lonesome -but there’s loads of cafés where you can stay all day for the price of a super green smoothie & salad (Sophie) or a super size cappuccino & cup cake (Julie). You realise you can’t do everything yourself but you can’t afford not to. That parking attendants are always on it (damnit!) but Ubers smash it. You discover what makes you totally stressed, that the stupidest things make you laugh hysterically and that Deliveroo really IS the answer to everything.
Yes it’s been a very bendy learning curve!
But we’re doing it and loving it!
Just ask, and you’ll get loads of advice – some unwanted 😥 some conflicting 🙄 but much that is consistent and valuable 😀
We thought we’d share the best bits…
8 Great Tips for Starting a Business
1. Research EVERYTHING
There’s no doubt that all good businesses start with a good idea. Yet the best idea might not make a viable business!
How can you know if yours will fly or flop?
Do market research before you dive in! Ask yourself tough questions, to avoid coming a cropper later on.
- Understand your target market, know your competition: Every business needs a USP (Unique Selling Point) – what can you offer that your competitors don’t? Are you better, cheaper, different, local….?
- Look at business models – How will you monetise your idea?
- How will you fund your business? Research setting up and running costs.
So if you think your idea could fly, read on…
‘If you’ve got an idea, start today. There’s no better time than now to get going.
That doesn’t mean quit your job and jump into your idea 100% from day one,
but there’s always small progress that can be made to start the movement.’
Kevin Systrom, Founder of Instagram
2. Hatch a plan
Based on your research, create a formalised business plan. This is like your blueprint for business, setting out your direction and how you will get there. It helps to clarify your business idea, set goals and strategies, identify potential issues, make financial and market forecasts and measure your progress.
Click here for a guide to writing your business plan.
3. Better together
Finding a business partner beats going it alone. Great to bounce ideas off, celebrate the highs and share the lows…otherwise it can feel rather lonely and daunting.
Create a dream team with someone you gel well with, who shares your vision and brings complementary strengths. Some say never work with family, though it has been a great decision for us.
4. Ask, ask, ask
If you’re planning a start-up, you’re bound to have relevant skills – but some facets to running a business might be less familiar e.g. marketing or finance. You may end up paying for professional advice, but start by asking around – use your network, attend events, join online groups.
People are generally flattered to be asked and pleased to help – we have been amazed at how generous they have been with their time, free advice and passing on more contacts …so don’t be afraid to ask!
‘… Learn as much as you can from those who know more than you do,
who do better than you, who see more clearly than you.’
Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of USA (1953 – 1961)
‘At Ease: Stories I Tell My Friends’
5. Focus – on your USP
You’ll never stop thinking of great ideas for your business! But you simply can’t do everything, especially with a small team. So don’t dilute your efforts, focus on your USP – the one thing that makes your business stand out…and make that the best you possibly can.
‘Whatever you do, be different—that was the advice my mother gave me,
and I can’t think of better advice for an entrepreneur.
If you’re different, you will stand out.’
Anita Roddick, Founder of The Body Shop
6. Keep start-up costs down
Get a grip on your finances right from the start.
Keep track, be realistic about what you can afford and know when to say no!
‘Stay self-funded as long as possible.’
Garrett Camp, Co-founder of Uber
7. Love what you do
Starting a business is all consuming, it’s hard to switch off. So you need to be passionate about your mission, and enjoy the journey.
’You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right.
If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick it out.’
Steve Jobs, Co-founder of Apple
8. Believe in yourself
Be committed. Certainly, listen to other people’s views, but don’t be put off – convincing the doubters can make you stronger! Don’t let the fear of failure prevent you from giving it your best shot.
‘I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something.
But I cannot accept not trying.’
Michael Jordan (one of the greatest ever basketball players)
And finally, our favourite quote…
‘If you can dream it, you can do it.’
Walt Disney (Entrepreneur & film producer)
🙂 🙂 🙂 GOOD LUCK! 🙂 🙂 🙂
What worked for you? Share your top tips. Please write for us!
Find out more about self-employment:
‘Good to Great’ by Jim Collins
Why some companies make the leap – and others don’t
Grad Bites: Starting a Business – HR Consulting
Contrasts with corporate life & valuable tips for entrepreneurs
Explore types of self-employment from entrepreneurship, to consulting & freelancing, the pros & cons of working for yourself, useful resources, tools, courses & more
For those Budding Business Brains…
Why more & more graduates are shunning the corporate world in favour of start-up life…