The excitement of starting up your own business can be infectious. In no time at all, your friends and family will want to come up with new ideas for you, determined to help you make a success of your venture. In the midst of all the fuss, however, it’s best to keep a clear head, if you can, and make some important decisions and financial plans. Here are some things that you can focus on as you get started.
Budget and cash flow
One of the most common reasons why new businesses fail early on is that they run out of money. It’s very easy to overspend at the beginning when you’re setting up the business, and in many cases, it happens because there’s no budget in place for your start-up costs. Always set out your business plan to allow for initial expenditure while you’re still trying to drum up sufficient business to repay your costs and balance the books. Monitoring your cash flow is also vital so that you are aware of the level of expenditure and income at any point. Keep your business bank account separate from your personal bank account from the very beginning. Make sure that you are fulfilling any legal obligations connected to running a business. Government websites are full of information for new business start-ups, and you can check up on whether you have done everything needed quite easily.
Walk before you try to run
As an entrepreneur, you may find that you have to juggle a substantial workload initially. While it’s tempting to hire someone to do your accounting and someone else to do your marketing, in truth it’s much better to make use of software and social media for these tasks respectively instead. Employing other people may well come further down the line when you are established; however, in the beginning, take things one step at a time – keep your own financial records and round up friends and volunteers to help with the marketing. This is not to say that you shouldn’t take advice if it’s offered. At the very least, you will want to check your insurance cover to make sure that it’s adequate for your business needs.
Prioritise revenue generation
In the same way, focus on building up your capital for future growth. Unnecessary spending on fancy offices or equipment is a drain on your resources. When you have reached the pinnacle of your profession and are trading comfortably with substantial reserves, you can splash out on the luxuries that you want. Follow the example of individuals such as Evangelos Marinakis. Marinakis, who is a Greek shipowner and owner of football club Olympiacos, has worked hard for many years to achieve his position among the world’s leading entrepreneurs.
Know your financial goals
You may well be heading towards the creation of a multimillion pound company; however, having more realistic, achievable goals is the best way to start. When you plan to lose weight, you might have an overarching aim to shed a stone, but the way that you measure it will be in smaller doses – a pound, say, here and there over a period of time. Create revenue goals in the same way. They will help you keep track of progress, and by monitoring your performance, you will be in a stronger position to identify and conquer various financial milestones along the way, improving your business confidence in the process.
Grow your customer base
When seeking new customers, use as many different routes as you can think of, and then analyse how effective these are and make adjustments accordingly. Try the free or cheap ways first – there’s no point in paying huge sums for advertising if you have no way of knowing whether it will be seen by your target market. You can get a free listing in the UK’s small business directory. If it attracts attention, you can always upgrade to something more eye-catching when you’re ready. Your customers are your business, and with good-quality customer care, you should soon start seeing repeat business. This can be the lifeblood of new start-ups as it’s easier to attract new customers once you are getting endorsements and recommendations from existing ones.
Look after yourself
It’s all too easy to throw yourself into building up your new venture and forget to look after yourself. Entrepreneurship can be stressful, and you need to make sure that you pay yourself enough to eat properly and live reasonably comfortably. This will allow you to focus fully on developing your business, and while you don’t need a big salary to start with, you will feel better if you eliminate any personal financial stress.