Top tips for starting a business

Starting your own business is an exciting yet terrifying prospect! Here are 5 top tips for anyone who wants to start a business.

Starting your own business is an exciting yet terrifying prospect! Here are 5 top tips for anyone who wants to start a business.

1. You need cash flow

One of the the bests way to help your business financially is to ensure a positive cash-flow. This means having a business plan where people pay for your product or services up front, giving you the cash to pay manufacturers. See: Why cash flow planning is crucial for a small business.

2. Funding your business

Of course you can’t generate a positive cash-flow immediately – you need money to start up. Nowadays there are many other ways to finance a startup other than a bank loan, for examples see our alternative finance section, which has lots of advice on the different types of funding available.

3. Get help with funding

You might be eligible for government funding when developing and testing your business idea. Go to the web site to see which funding schemes you can apply for. If you’re aged 18-30, you could also get help from The Prince’s Trust. They offer low interest loans of up to £4000, plus mentoring and training schemes.

4. Write a business plan

When applying for loans and funding, you’ll need a detailed business plan. Even if you’re not applying for funds, you should always write a business plan as it will lay everything out in a clear, logical way and you can look back to it later on to make sure everything is going to plan.

5. Join the right networks

You should be asking everyone and anyone for tips and advice, you’ll learn so much and you might even make the important contacts you need. Join the mailing list of StartUp Britain, an initiative that helps new businesses. Their web site it also full of useful links and tips.

Starting a business in hard economic times actually makes perfect sense – there are less jobs out there and so why not try and make it on your own? There’s a wealth of information out there and even funding opportunities, you just have to jump in at the deep end, with a clear plan and goals.

Further reading relating to starting a business

> Should I go sole trader, partnership or limited company?

> Starting an e-commerce business – what to know

Small businesses waste no time getting off the ground

Half of start-ups get up and running within 12 weeks, research finds.

According to a survey of some 3,400 new businesses by PeoplePerHour, 21 per cent of businesses surveyed managed to get up and running within six weeks, 28 per cent in 6-12 weeks and 19 per cent took 12-20 weeks. 

Just 7 per cent of those surveyed say it had taken them longer than a year.

One of the factors contributing to the speed of the start-up process is the fact that 71 per cent of those surveyed raised money needed from their savings and the ‘bank of friends and family’.

Some 22 per cent of those surveyed started up with less than £2,000 and 17 per cent managed to start with less than £1,000.

Just under half (45 per cent) were ‘optimistic’ that their business would grow over the following 12 months, with 18 per cent ‘cautiously optimistic’. Just one in eight feel their business prospects were less than positive over the next year.

One third of those businesses surveyed say they planned to hire at least one full-time or full-time-equivalent (FTE) employee in the next six months, with a further 18 per cent saying they planned to hire between two and three FTE employees.

Xenios Thrasyvoulou, founder and CEO of PeoplePerHour, comments, ‘A major factor in this growing trend of new small business owners, across generations, is how cheap and easy it is to set up a business and build a client base from day one.

‘The barriers of starting a business being lowered is one of the main reasons we’re seeing such a noticeable rise in the nation choosing the self-employment route earlier than ever before in their careers.’

He adds, ‘Starting your own business is far less daunting than it once was. Since the recession, people have ventured into being self employed through necessity, but with an improving economy many are still seeing this avenue as a more satisfying one than the old 9-5 day job.

‘The ever-increasing amount of people deciding to be their own boss indicates self-employment is a trend that is here to stay.’

Making the next step

Alan Dobie

Alan Dobie

Alan was assistant editor at Vitesse Media Plc (previous owner of before moving on to a content producer role at Reed Business Information. He has over 17 years of experience in the...

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