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What sort of business should you start?

by Administrator 28. June 2011 16:25

OK, so you have decided to become an entrepreneur and run you own business, but what sort of business should you start? This might seem like a daunting task, but take a step back and focus on what you are interested in.

Choose sectors of the market where you have valuable experience or expertise. Remember if you embark on a business that you are passionate about you will have a greater chance of success and always remember why you want to start your own business. Be brave and don’t discount business ideas because you think they are too ambitious or out of reach. You may find they are more attainable than you think; or discover a small gap in the market that you would be able to fill that you would have otherwise overlooked. Take time with this process, its going to be what you invest a lot of your own time and money into.

Once you have decided on an area where you think there is a business niche or demand, it would be a good idea to make sure you are not alone in thinking this. Do some research, not just with family and friends who may give you a bias opinion (so as not to hurt your feelings), get out there and perform some real market research with potential customers. Check out your competition and find out what they do and more importantly how you could do it better.

The next step on the road to starting a successful business is putting together a good business plan, this will enable you and any potential investors to better understand what the business’ goals and objectives are. Have a read of my earlier post on why it’s important to have a strong business plan.

Remember why you are starting your own business and what drove you to that decision. If you part with one piece of advice from reading this; then remember to choose something you are passionate about, something you will enjoy and something that will keep you motivated wether your business is flourishing or struggling to keep its head above the water.

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Startups

Business Plan

by Administrator 16. June 2011 09:48

Before starting any business venture it’s essential to have a strong business plan, but how do you go about putting one together and what should go in it? Well if that question is on your mind, read on…

So how do you go about preparing a business plan?

In broad terms a business plan is a formal statement detailing what your business is aiming to achieve and how it’s going to do it. There is no right or wrong answer for what a business plan should consist of, but if you cover the following points that are relevant to your business, you should be well on the way to formulating your first business plan.

Executive Summary

Strangely enough this section should be completed last in your business plan, but it needs to go in the first section. It should include a summary of all the main points in the business plan and most importantly for your investors or your bank manager, the return on their investment or loan repayments, respectively.

Finance

If you are seeking funding for your start-up business, you need to decide what type of funding you are looking for, is it from investors that are looking to see a high return on their investment, or are you looking for a bank loan, where they will be more interested in the businesses ability to replay the loan. If you plan to seek finance from investors, be prepared to spend a lot more time on your business plan, especially in areas relating market analysis, strategy, and profit projections. Be warned they will want to see proof of detailed research into these areas.

Business Description

The business description should include how the company is setup, with regards to its legal status, existing shareholders and directors.

Business output

This section should detail exactly what products or services your business is planning on selling and how/why your customers will benefit from your services.

Market Analysis

It is important that you understand your target market, who are they, how can you best contact them and where are they located. Depending on the type of business you plan to start-up, will reflect how you market your products of services. If for example you are planning selling a service such as hair dressing you are going to be confined geographically to a specific location, whereas if your business plans to sell web hosting to its customers there are no geographical boundaries, however selling to a global market is going to greatly increase your competition.

Competitors

Know who your competitors are, what products or services do they offer? Why are your products and services going to be better than your competition? Can you offer better quality, pricing or more flexibility? If you don’t understand your competition you don’t stand a chance!

Strategy & Implementation

Your strategy will be the driving force behind a successful or failure of the business; so this is one of the most important aspects of your business plan, how do you plan to achieve the goals discussed in this document? Be precise about what is going to happen, when it’s going to happen and how much its going to cost.

Financial Analysis

Show any form of financial history for the business along with your realistic profit projections. Don’t be over optimistic with your profit projections it will only raise concerns with your investors or the bank manager. I’m sure you will have seen how the dragons react to ridiculous profit forecasts in Dragons Den; I certainly wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of their wrath, would you?

 

Once you have completed the first draft of your business plan, discuss it with friends, family or work colleagues; get their feedback on it, if they have any negative feedback, treat it as constructive criticism, turn it into something positive. Obtaining backing from investors is highly competitive and your business plan is going to have to stand out from the rest. The same goes for borrowing money from the bank, especially in times of recession, they will only be prepared to loan money to businesses that have a sound business plan that clearly shows they can succeed in their chosen market.

Business plans are not just about obtaining finance for a business, they also allow you to focus on exactly what your business is, what you want it to achieve and how you plan to get there.

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Startups

Understanding the importance of Networking

by Administrator 8. June 2011 12:04

When you go to a shop to purchase something do you prefer the person serving you to blank you completely or pay attention to what you want?

This is similar to networking. Just being there for people to get to know (without being overpowering) explain who you are and what you do so that people are at least aware what you have to offer. You will be surprised that even if people are not going to benefit themselves from a product or service that you offer, they are often the ones that know of someone who is.

Choose carefully how you network. Networking on the computer is fine to a certain extent but people like to get to know the person behind the company.

There are plenty of groups and societies that promote local networking such as Chamber of Commerce groups and council run initiatives. Don’t be afraid to look further from home to network. If your customers don’t tend to be in your local community extend the net and look to join a networking group where there are potential customers.

Don’t underestimate the importance of Exhibitions and trade fairs. They can be a really positive part of a companies’ calendar. They can act as a great time to launch a new product or service and tell the trade world about it, and showing it to customers in person lets them really grasp how the product or service can benefit them.

It may sound obvious, but invest in a good quantity of business cards that are well made and clear. Don’t rely on the fact that people will remember or keep a piece of paper with a phone number on and always keep a quantity of cards with you.

Most of all take a deep breath and welcome the idea of meeting other companies and who knows, one of them may become a valued customer.

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Startups

Reception Bureau Blog

So what’s this blog all about?

Well, this blog is going to be an useful resource for anyone running a small to medium size business.

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