Ten Steps To Creating Your Own Business

Ten Steps To Creating Your Own Business

7th August, 2017 by

Creating your own business is a tremendously exciting time. Potential profits are breathlessly discussed with trusted confidants, while marketing ideas pile up faster than they can be actioned. However, any new online business requires a carefully co-ordinated action plan to ensure it launches with the best possible chance of long-term profitability.

In chronological order, these are ten steps every prospective online entrepreneur should follow…

  1.     Identify a niche. The majority of online businesses fail, the most common reason being because there’s insufficient demand for their products and services. Any company should be looking to solve a problem or provide something that isn’t readily available elsewhere. For instance, while the UK probably doesn’t need another second-hand bookstore, a new online business dedicated to signed copies or out-of-print books has a clear USP.
  2.     Decide on a brand. If your new company supplies long-forgotten hardbacks, why not call it Back in Hardback? Not only does this instantly identify the firm’s niche, it’s a memorable play on words with potential for a stylish mirror-image logo. The backinhardback domain name is still available, too – UK2 can sell you the .co.uk and .com addresses for less than £7 a year each.
  3.     Specify the company type. There are several options, each with their own unique advantages. Being a sole trader simplifies paperwork, whereas a limited company looks more professional. A limited company is better for hiring staff at a later date, though an LLP profit-sharing enterprise maximises personal immunity against corporate misdeeds. Not that you’re planning on being sued by outraged clients, of course.
  4.     Produce a business plan. This is perhaps the most crucial stage of all. From investors to clients, many people may ask to scrutinise your business plan. It’s a valuable aide memoir as your firm evolves, preventing a loss of focus. A good plan will cover annual financial forecasts and marketing strategies. It should also clarify the who, what, where, when and why – and even the how.
  5.     Appoint an accountant. Even if you’re going down the sole trader route, you’ll have annual tax returns to file, a bank account to manage and an Excel or Google Sheets document to fill with incomings and outgoings. Accountants don’t just turn this into annual company accounts – they offer advice on legal and regulatory matters. Good firms will suggest strategies to reduce tax, keeping you out of HMRC’s bad books.
  6.     Register with regulatory bodies. The creation of a company involves registering with Companies House. This is surprisingly easy, with a certificate of incorporation issued to the founder once the business is officially registered. Depending on your industry, you may also need to register with trade bodies, acquire a licence/accreditation, or undergo criminal records checks.
  7.     Establish channels of communication. Set up a dedicated phone line for your new online business to differentiate it from existing personal landlines or mobiles. Adopt a proprietary email account instead of a generic Gmail-style address. Since many customers communicate via social media, Facebook and Twitter accounts are essential; product-oriented brands ought to adopt Instagram, too.
  8.     Cultivate a working environment. Balancing a laptop on your knee in an armchair is unsustainable long-term. You’ll need a proper desk with broadband and a supportive chair, plus a bookcase to store the paperwork that rapidly accrues. Companies with stock will require warehousing, while client-facing businesses should acquire office space in a central location with good transport links.
  9.     Create a website. It’s not the first thing you need to do when creating a new online business, but designing a website is one of the most crucial. Drape an understated colour scheme over a responsive interface that loads quickly and looks equally slick on any screen size. Optimise your SEO through a dedicated plugin, ensuring ecommerce and communications functionalities are stable in all the main browsers.
  10.  Launch a marketing campaign. As the website goes live, it’s time to generate some publicity. Google AdWords is a good place to start, while flyers and brochures can be posted or emailed as PDFs. Consider introductory discounts, and investigate running a competition to harvest email addresses for marketing distribution purposes. Publicise your new enterprise on LinkedIn, with regular links to any new blog posts.

 

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