Friday, September 10, 2010

The 10 key steps to creating your business - part II

I wrote in a previous post about what you should do when starting a business. That post talked about what you need to do before or right at the start of your new venture. This post now discusses what you should do right after that and picks up where the previous article left off:
  1. Get an address and a phone. For the office there are a lot of brokers out there that will be happy to find the right office for you. Some people start from home, and use serviced offices when and as required. Regus has some very flexible plans that allow you to use their premises when needed for business meetings. Another option is to check some of the self-storage companies such as Access Storage that also provide offices for rent at very competitive rates. You can also share an office with an existing business. Gumtree is a good place to start if this is what you are looking for. As for the phone, having just a mobile number on your business card is not a good idea. Fortunately, most VOIP vendors can provide you with local numbers (including fax lines forwarding faxes to your email) that you can easily use wherever you have a broadband connection. Be careful though as some vendors can lock you in since there is no automatic number portability for fixed line numbers. Some brokers can help find the right solution at not cost for you and you should use them. Skype is also a viable solution, even though it is not based on open standards like SIP.
  2. Refine your USP. If you want to be successful you need a "Unique Selling Proposition". No business is successful without sales. And in order to sell you need a USP. Remember, you don't want to sell a product or even a service, you want to sell a benefit to your client. Something they value higher than what you want to charge them for and something that only you can provide.
  3. Have an online backup solution. Unless all your tools are web based --such as Kashflow, Google Docs and all the new cloud-based products-- you need to backup your PCs! You can start for free with Dropbox and as your storage needs increase go with some of the many vendors providing unlimited storage for as little as £4/mo. If you go with Dropbox get an invite from a friend as it will give you more free storage. If you buy, it's always a good idea to buy through a reseller that you can talk to if there is a problem. It's usually not more expensive and sometimes even cheaper than buying direct.
  4. Build your business network. Unless you already know all your clients and suppliers, networking is critical to growing your business. Referral is the number one way to acquire new business. Networking allows you to increase the chance of getting referrals. Your local chamber of commerce is a good place to start. It's also a good idea to take a look at some of the business networking groups such as BNI, 4Networking or Athena. Most will let you attend for free a couple of times. And don't forget your banker or your accountant. They will usually know quite a number of people that can help.  Don't be afraid to ask. Actually the best places to network are those where you don't go to find clients. Maybe it's time to go back to Church... And don't forget the online counterpart. Building an online presence by blogging, and using tools such as twitter, facebook and more importantly linkedin is definitely worth it if you have the time. Be sure to also use the tools that allow you to link those platforms together such as feedburner and allow you to write once and publish everywhere.
  5. Get a mentor. You need a sounding board. Ideally someone who understands the business, someone who has done it before, someone who has a track record of success and is willing to help. A client, a supplier or your partner is rarely the best choice. But it can be your accountant, your solicitor or even better, a coach.
While those tips won't be enough to make you succeed, at least they will prevent you from failing for the wrong reason. Just put all the chances on your side and don't let silly mistakes take your dream away.

1 comment:

  1. This is such an useful information for starting business and yeah, I tell that virtual office is very useful for creating your business.

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