How to start your own business

Have you always wanted to start your own business but don't know where to begin? Here's our guide to helping you start your own business.

Idea

First of all you need a business idea! Whether it’s a product or service, you must have a small idea if you’re looking at this page! Make sure you have a strong concept and something you are passionate about to keep the business alive during both the good and bad times.

Market research

You need to understand your customer base from the very beginning in order for your business to be successful. Market research lets you understand the market you are going into.

Get information to understand opportunities for gaining customers. This could include  age, wealth, family, interests, or anything else that’s relevant for your business.

Then answer these questions to get a good sense of your market.

  • Demand: Is there a desire for your product or service?
  • Market size: How many people would be interested in your offering?
  • Economic indicators: What is the income range and employment rate?
  • Location: Where do your customers live and where can your business reach?
  • Competitors: How many similar options are already available to consumers?
  • Pricing: What do customers pay for these alternatives?

We understand, it’s hard to know where to begin with the research. Here are a few methods you can use to do direct research:

  • Surveys
  • Questionnaires
  • Focus groups
  • In-depth interviews

Location

Your business location is one of the most important decisions you’ll make. Whether you’re setting up a bricks-and-mortar business or launching an online store, the choices you make could affect your taxes, legal requirements, and revenue.

If you are planning to expand, you may also want to think about location in terms of employees, if you base yourself in a city you are more likely to find recruitment easier. Similarly, if you are planning a restaurant or shop business, the city is where you are likely to receive most customers. Building costs are high in cities though so all of this needs to be balanced and prioritised depending on what your business idea is.

 

Business name

This is one of the most important parts of a business. If you are successful, this is a name people will remember.

It’s not easy to pick the perfect name. You’ll want one that reflects your brand and captures your spirit. You’ll also want to make sure your business name isn’t already being used by someone else!

Once you have chosen a name you need to protect it! Register your trademark on the gov website. 

 

Marketing

Your market research should help with this. Who is your customer base and how are you going to appeal to them? During these times, online is the way forward. Get yourself online. Build a presence on social media. Get creative. Flyers, newspaper advertisements, word of mouth. All are brilliant forms of marketing your business and it really is a combination of all channels that works the best.

 

Keep up with the numbers

It’s important when starting a business to get numbers right! You don’t have to be a maths or accounting expert but some knowledge with finances will be crucial to starting a business. You can’t be making losses. Consider hiring an accountant or get a friend or family member who understands to help you balance the books.

 

Business tips from our CEO Samantha

Tips on starting your own business, from Open Study College CEO, Samantha Rutter.

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