Whether you are starting a small business on the side or throwing yourself 100% into a new professional project, the first few months and even years can be incredibly difficult. It is important you give yourself every possible advantage, such as these 10 invaluable tips for new start-ups.
Surround Yourself with Experts (On the Cheap)
A new business will seldom have the funds to employ experts and specialists in all the fields they require, but could potentially benefit greatly from their skills and experience. This can place the burden on a few team members (or just one person) who must undertake all responsibilities involved in starting a business, even those far removed from their skillset.
Freelancer databases such as People Per Hour are full of professionals in far-ranging disciplines who are available for one-off tasks at a range of costs. From photography to web design, there are almost limitless skills for hire.
Take on a Cut-Price Full-Timer
If a freelancer won’t cut the mustard and you need an extra pair of hands with you at all times, it may be beneficial to take advantage of the incentives offered by the Government, to take on apprentices. An employer taking on an apprentice could be given a £1,500 grant to put towards their wages. Apprentices can be hired for as little as £2.68 per hour.
The great advantage small businesses have against their larger rivals is the ability to remain personal, offering more dedicated service to customers. Make yourself and your team of experts constantly available to customers, clients and prospective partners. If you are printing up business cards, make sure to include Skype contacts so clients and customers alike can keep in contact with you at all time.
Commit yourself to social media as well, scouring Twitter and Google+ for people talking about your business or industry. Just thanking them for a nice comment can make your service seem all the more personable.
Cut Down Delivery Costs
Many commercial businesses are eschewing the brick n mortar premises philosophy and setting up shop online. This helps reduce running costs rental and utility outgoings are removed. However, this approach can lead to increased delivery costs as many products will need to be sent via courier services. Minimise these costs as well by choosing the most cost-effective courier services for all your needs.
Rapid Parcel compares the costs of all services of the major courier services, allowing you to pay the minimum for delivery. This gives you the opportunity to pass savings on to customers and/or increase your profit margin.
Creating a mutually beneficial partnership with a company in a similar but not directly competitive industry can help improve visibility for both firms. Carefully pick a partner which customers will trust and benefit from otherwise they may lose their trust in your business. For example: a new homemade crafts company could partner with an artisan jam maker, both advising their customer base to consider the services of their partner.
Barter, Argue and Try to Get it Free
As people in the North East will tell you: “shy bairns get nowt”. Try and be cheeky wherever possible to receive services, software and products for free or as close to free as possible. Demonstrate the potential of your business to these service providers and how a partnership could benefit them in the long run. Be confident and project yourself and your business as world-beaters.
Cloud storage, remote stock rooms and increasing WiFi coverage are making it more plausible than ever to work from home or the comfort of your own bed. Setting up Google Drive between yourself and any employees to share files means the team won’t even have to share a bed! Client and customer meetings can be held in classy hotel lobbies or cute local cafes – whichever best represent your business’ personality.
Register to Start Claiming Back VAT
VAT on items in the UK can be as much as 20% of the total cost, meaning that claiming back this tax could save you up to 1/5 of your total company expenditure. From small items such as business coffees to big expenses such as computers, it is good to get into the routine of retaining all receipts to reclaim these taxes from the HM Revenue & Customs.
Use your Time Effectively
One of the hardest things to accomplish when first starting out on your own is effective time management. Whilst it may be tempting to indulge yourself and afford yourself time to accomplish goals, it is important to utilise time effectively. Safeguard against meetings turning into leisurely 2 hours chats over lattes. Be charming but time-conscious, otherwise you’ll start wasting your own time which could be spent growing the business.
Share your Knowledge
Presuming you are forming the business around knowledge, expertise and passion – make sure these are evident. Customers and clients are far more likely to trust the opinions and abilities of a skilled individual with obvious knowledge in their field. Run a blog in tandem with your business, sharing your insider views on the market and your industry to demonstrate your advanced knowledge and answer any questions investors may have.