How to start a business
Posted in The virtual assistant blog
So you want to be an entrepreneur and start a business in the UK, but how do you start a business that brings long term success?
Preparation is the key! Developing a thorough business plan for a start up and carrying out appropriate market research can certainly help ensure a greater degree of success. This entrepreneur startup guide provides some of the information you need to start a business in the UK.
Create a business plan
An important part of starting the process is to assess the viability of your potential business in the marketplace. So you need a business plan that includes:
- A detailed company description — who you are, what you do, what the goals of the business are
- Market analysis to determine consumer demand, competitor strength and so on
- Details on the organisation and structure of your business — how many employees, roles and responsibilities etc.
- Details on the types of products or services you will be supplying to the market
- A plan for the marketing and sales of your business
- Financial business model and projections
This plan can also help you obtain finance and find business partners. If you need help with conducting market research, you could consider using a virtual research assistant, who can help you examine the market, analyse the strength of competitors and help create your business plan.
Set up the business correctly
Unfortunately, there are some bureaucratic and administrative hurdles associated with starting a business in the UK. One of those hurdles is the act of registering your business with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
In most cases, you can register as a sole trader to get the business going quickly. However, if the business is larger in scope, you may wish to register as an ‘Ordinary’ business partnership, limited partnership, limited liability partnership or limited company. It is compulsory for your business to register with the HMRC within 3 months of commencing operation.
You should also make sure that the businesses financials are handled correctly. If you don’t have a head for numbers and can’t afford to employ accounting staff, you could consider using remote bookkeeping services to keep on top of the financial data.
Create an online presence
If you want to start a business in the UK, it is important to have a strong online presence. This is because consumers are increasingly using the internet as their primary mechanism for finding new products and services, obtaining customer support, finding reviews of businesses and so on.
To create a strong online presence you will need to first of all formulate your online strategy and site structure. You should consider what you want to achieve with it, such as lead generation or just having an online brochure, as this will determine build criteria for SEO, PPC or social media considerations. Depending on your site strategy you may also need to consider regular site updates, how you will create high quality content, how to keep social media accounts fresh and engaging and how to have a strong presence with relevant online communities. If you don’t have a great deal of technological knowledge, this may sound like a daunting task! So if in doubt get outside help. You could consider using specialist agencies or if too expensive look into hiring virtual assistant marketing support to help with SEO, data entry, content creation and social media to give your business the right online presence.
Market your business
If you want to be an entrepreneur and start a successful business, you probably already understand how important marketing is. If you don’t correctly market your business, customers will be unable to find your business and it will inevitably fail.
Traditionally, marketing a business was as simple as performing some letterbox drops, buying a radio or television advertisement or putting an advertisement in the local newspapers. It has now become more complex thanks to the advent of the Internet!
Many businesses now concentrate on online marketing for a number of reasons including:
- They obtain greater value for money
- The business can precisely track their marketing expenditure and return on investment (ROI)
- The business can obtain useful demographical data from online marketing campaigns
- They can precisely target specific marketing campaigns at specific users
However, similar to creating an online presence — online marketing can be a little tricky if you don’t have a background in the subject. There are dozens of ways to market a business online, hundreds of different marketing platforms and many ways that you can spend your marketing budget. If you don’t understand the best ways to use online marketing, you can easily waste your marketing budget on ineffective strategies.
That is why businesses often use specialist agencies to help them market their business effectively. By way of example here are some of the virtual marketing support solutions we provide including areas such as social media and marketing services.
Selling your product or service
In addition to marketing your business effectively, you will need to network, track and pursue sales leads effectively. The most successful companies never let a sales prospect get away without doing their best to turn them into a customer!
That means obtaining contact information from online/offline visitors, contacting prospects who are interested in your products or services, answering questions that potential customers have, and providing support throughout the sales process.
Many business owners find sales the most difficult part of running a business. They don’t like cold calling prospects or they don’t like aggressively promoting their business in the way that is required to generate sales. That is why using experienced sales staff is usually a great option. Again if you don’t have time to do this yourself or can’t afford to take on staff to do this you can outsource sales lead generation and sales support — handing the task over to professionals who will achieve a great outcome for your business.
Run and grow your business efficiently!
When you decided to be an entrepreneur and start a business, you may not have entirely anticipated the amount of work involved. It can take over your life if you aren’t careful!
The solution to running your business efficiently and having the time you need to grow it rather than just working in it without spending 18 hours at work every day is to delegate tasks. If you can’t afford a full-time staff member to delegate work to, you can always outsource the work. There are fewer overheads and complications involved when using outsourced staff, which makes it a cheaper and simpler option when you are trying to grow your new businesses.
We hope you enjoyed “How to start a business”. If you are interested in starting a business and want to find out more about our virtual business assistant services, feel free to call us on 0800 994 9016 or click here to request a free consultation.