Starting up is one thing, but keeping going is another. Let’s look at what marks out successful start-ups, because if you can build good business habits when you’re starting, they can ensure that you turn into a profitable long-term business.
Keep Costs as Close to Zero as You Can
When you start, try to keep costs to a minimum. The kitchen table is a great place to start – no one’s going to ask you for extra rent, so your low overheads will be the envy of many a more established business. Retail chains like Laura Ashley started like this, and we all know of the global IT businesses that were started in garages – Amazon, Apple and Google, for example.
On a more modest scale, many a successful kitchen fitting company has started with one person with a cheap jigsaw and a hammer, replacing worktops. So don’t wait for a fancy workshop and a set of expensive tools, all bought on borrowed money. Start now, make your mistakes on your own money and you’ll soon learn what works and be able to invest your profits into tools, products, software, distribution and whatever else you need.
Find Out What You Can Do for Free
You may find local listings sites that will let you list your business at no cost. You may be able to get complimentary tickets to a trade show if you sign up to a website. And remember that great reviews from customers are free – and there’s no better form of advertising. Need a logo? Why not sponsor a competition at a local college – it’s a lot cheaper than paying an advertising company. Can’t afford advertising? Will the local paper run a piece on the launch of your business? Try to think creatively about how you can get what you want for free – it’s a great business skill.
You may have started out thinking that your business would offer one particular service or product. But as you gain experience, it may become clear that your offer is slightly off-centre to the market. Be flexible – change what you do to fit what you’ve found out about your market. That knowledge is worth a lot of money if you capitalise on it.
Make Contacts, Build a Team
You may not want to employ people, but your business will almost certainly benefit from being linked into the community, to other business people, to interest groups and to the wider business network. Opportunities come from everywhere, and there’s no need to spend hours on social media to make connections. Be open, talk to people, spread the word and you’ll be amazed at what can happen.
Allsquare are professional accountants in Edinburgh offering financial and business services to help small to medium companies with business growth strategies. For more information, call Allsquare today on 0131 343 1510.