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How to start your own business from home
More than half a million new businesses are started in the UK every year.
If you dream of being your own boss, Susan Payton from The Business Of Mums gives us her top tips…
Do your research
42% of start-ups fail because of lack of demand for their product or service. Talk to potential customers first to get feedback, and research your target market, similar products and the industry as a whole.
Checking you have a market for whatever you are offering, and understanding how you will differentiate from your competitors, is an important first step. Check Reports.mintel.com and Marketresearch.com for information on your industry.
Have a business plan
Have a clear vision and plan of what you want your business to be
Companies that write a business plan are twice as likely to succeed. Whether or not you are seeking funding for your start-up, having a plan in writing helps you to keep focus. Include your objectives and vision, market analysis, timings, budgets and your marketing strategy.
Your plan needs to outline where you are now, where you would like to be, by when, how you are going to get there and what your costs will be.
What’s your ‘why?’
Starting a business can be a rollercoaster ride, so understanding why you are doing it is critical to get you through any tough times. People who are passionate about what they do don’t quit at the first hurdle, because
it means too much to them.
And when you understand your ‘why’, you can communicate it to your customers.
Choose a name.
Once you’ve decided what type of business you want to start, you’ll want to choose a name. Once you have, check that it’s available at Companies House, as a domain name for your website and as a trademark – if you intend trademarking it.
A trademark registration is the quickest and cheapest way to ensure legal exclusivity of your brand.
Make sure your website is mobile-responsive
Most people view websites on their mobiles
As many as 65% of people view websites on a mobile device, such as a phone or tablet, and Google favours mobile-friendly websites in its search results, so if your website isn’t mobile optimised, you may lose customers!
Registering your business
If you’re a sole trader you need to register with HM Revenue and Customs (0300 200 3504). If your business is going to be a Limited Company, you’ll need to register with Companies House and let HMRC know when you start.
Keep an eye on your earnings – once your taxable turnover reaches 82,000 you’ll have to register for VAT. Visit Icaew.com to find an accountant who can help.
Find a mentor
A mentor can offer invaluable support and guidance. Who better to learn from than someone who has already done the things you want to do and will share the mistakes and lessons they learnt along the way? Visit Mentorsme.co.uk for info.
Social media is key to building a business
Social media is likely to be a key part of your marketing strategy, but if you don’t know where to start, focus on one platform. Choose the one you think your customers are most likely to use, then build your connections from there. Better to focus on one and do it well to start with – then expand later.
Self-belief, looking after yourself and getting help and support are critical for success. Connect with like-minded people at Thebusinessofmums.com.