Many people dream of starting their own business, they want to work for themselves, they have a great idea that they know people would use or want and they want to make loads of money for themselves without having to give it to someone else. If you’re one of these people who dream of starting your own business, then what is it that is stopping you?
The answer is nothing, and while you might be able to think up plenty of excuses to keep putting it off, in reality, the only thing that is stopping you from achieving your dream is you. If this year has taught us anything it is that life is short and you never know what is around the corner. Who could have predicted that 2020 would be spent mostly in lockdown, social distancing, unable to travel and in fear of a failing economy? It sounds like a disastrous time to start a business but in fact, this pandemic is not an excuse and is as good a time as any to start your business.
You have the time
One of the biggest reasons people give for not following their dreams or one of the things that people complain they never have enough of is time. But this pandemic has given us time. Whether you have been laid off, furloughed, working from home or carrying on your job as normal, it has still meant that there has been less to do and far more time spent in the house. While it looks like there is the hope of a vaccine now, it doesn’t mean the pandemic is over so if there are more lockdowns then perhaps it's time to use them wisely to work on your business.
You have the resources
The other thing available right now is a talent as well as other businesses who need work. For example, there are small business owners who could help you out, from electricians to logistics consultants, there are people ready and waiting to get their teeth stuck into something good and help you get your business off the ground. There are also so many talented people who have lost their jobs and are looking for work and could be an asset to your business.
There is a demand
While the world has changed significantly and some things are no longer as important as they once were, on the other hand, there are things such as face masks, PPE, virtual meetings and deliveries which have never been so popular. If your business can help to meet the demand that the pandemic has caused then it's the perfect time to start.
You can adapt
The great thing about starting your business now is that you can adapt to the new world straight away. You won’t need to make changes as you can have the restrictions and guidelines in place from the off. Your business can be something that doesn't just exist in a post-covid world but can thrive and help people adapt to a new way of living.
We all take pleasure when our ideas come to fruition. We’re even more pleased when the ideas have an impact by improving motivation, innovation or productivity, among other areas. The spread of an idea can benefit many, but that popularity can also alter and distort the original. You can read more over at Entrepreneur Europe...
In an age where we have unlimited access to pretty much everything you can imagine, it’s easy to become tempted to learn as much as possible.
Maybe you feel as though becoming an expert in many fields will benefit your career or business prospects? And in some ways, you’re not wrong to think that- having knowledge in several areas will set you aside from the crowd as well as giving you the personal gratification of learning something new.
However, there are several reasons why it’s often good, and not self-limiting to become a hyper specialist.
Here are some of them..
You get to become an expert in your field
One of the best reasons to focus on one or two areas of expertise is that the more you invest in your knowledge the better.
Imagine if an athlete decided that they wanted to spread themselves across more areas of the athletics industry. They decided they want to train, coach, advertise sporting events, and run the ticket desk, too. While all of these things are jobs that are related to the athletics field, the more this athlete does that will take them away from their training and participation in events, the less time and energy they have to focus on the things that set them apart from the others.
It’s the same if you’re in marketing. You decide you also want to try your hand at the web design, content writing, accounts, and sales as well. You’ll be spreading yourself too thinly and potentially missing out on some key aspects of the ever-evolving world of marketing. Staying focused on this one area will mean you get to invest all of your energy in becoming the best.
You can offer something unique
Imagine you’re at a restaurant and the server gives you a 10 page menu to choose your meal from. Not only are you more likely to end up plagued by indecision, but the choice you make may not result in the best quality meal for your time and money. It’s the same in business. If you offer too much, you’re not going to offer the best quality out there.
However, if you head to the sandwich bar three doors down the road who offer one meat, one vegetarian, and one fish option with only three kinds of bread, you know that you’re going to get something a bit more special. This expert specialism is what keeps people coming back. Sure, not everybody wants a sandwich all the time, but when they do, they’ll know exactly where to go.
It can get even more specific than that, even. Medifit Design and Construct are a great example of a business that takes something that people look for (design agency) with a specialism (for healthcare practices). People looking for those particular services may be able to find a company that will do a good job designing their medical practice, but perhaps none as good as one that will be able to deliver the same attention to detail as a specialist company.
This is why becoming hyper specialist isn’t limiting.
Starting your new business is a journey that will take you through many ups and downs. That said, it is exciting and one which is extremely rewarding. Plus, many people say working for themselves is the best thing they have ever done. When starting your business, there are many things to consider: branding, finances to websites, and funding. Below is an overview of a few things you should consider when starting your own business.
Creating your website
Will you be making your website yourself or hire a professional to make one for you? Depending on your requirements, a website will help bring in new customers to your business and allow you to appeal to them in a different way. Before starting your website, make sure you put a plan together of what you will need on it and the type of website it will be, whether eCommerce, or a brochure-like site.
When running your business, it is important to stay on top of your finances. Using an account package, you will be able to track how you are doing instantly through a click of a button. Not only that, but you will also be able to send invoices and keep an eye on your expenses. By using digital accounting, you can easily allow your accountant access to your books without having to visit them in person. This will enable them to log in and see how you are performing without leaving their office to meet you; it can all be done over a phone call.
How will you brand yourself?
Logos, brand colors, and marketing materials should all be thought about before launching your company. Your logo is important, as everyone will see first and give them the first impression of your business. Done cheaply, it can be detrimental to your brand. Brand colors can portray a lot about you; if you are a luxury brand, you may want more gold’s and silvers used instead of bright funky colors. By hiring a graphic designer, they can help you with all of this.
Testing your idea in the real world
If your idea is completely new, how do you know it will work? Before investing heavily in your idea, it’s worth creating some prototypes and seeing how people respond to it. This is a great way to get actual feedback and to get other people’s opinions. Take note of what people are saying is you can use this to develop your idea and make it even better.
Will you need investment?
Will your business plan require you to need significant investment, or can you gradually grow your business? If you need investment, have you considered how you are going to raise funds? Make sure you do your research and put together a solid business plan to explain each step of your journey and how the money will be spent. Angel investors, bank loans, competitions, friends, and family, there are many ways for you to pitch and bring in some funding for your idea.
Financial uncertainty has prompted many to start thinking about a Plan B to help supplement their existing income, while others have spent lockdown pondering whether the career they thought they wanted is right for their long-term future. Entrepreneur Europe caught up with one CEO to find out how she runs her business in 3 hours at night!
Launching a product is a milestone event in the life of your firm. Even if you’re a relatively mature firm with a product library, each new addition to that family counts. For this reason, knowing how to launch with style, and get noticed, is important. It can serve as a refreshing point for your brand, while also giving you the chance to grow further and with confidence.
But simply hoping to do this well is one thing, and achieving those results is another. For the most part, there are many variables that contribute to your success here. Cultural trends, price fluctuations, competitor activity, all of this can influence your end result, and it’s almost impossible to predict this with complete accuracy.
However, launching with style, and launching effectively need not be opposed. There’s every chance of hitting this out of the park, if only you took the time to understand what you have to offer and how you could best promote it. So, how can we get started? With the following, worthwhile advice:
Excellent video production can help you design a snappy advertisement, or a promotion for your social media fields, or an unveiling that works for you. Visual mediums like this can help you express your product in its full glory, with all the bells and whistles. Furthermore, this can help generate hype, as the use of flashy imagery and music can bring a larger-than-life quality to just about anything. When you take the time to collaborate with a studio offering this kind of utility, you’ve taken the strongest, most exciting first step.
Influencers are all the rage and show almost no signs of slowing down in modern times, which means that they serve as a great brand opportunity. For instance, energy drink companies are partnering with high-profile video game streamers to give a sense of energy and enthusiasm to their brands. Social media sites such as Twitter, Instagram and others have their own form of advertisements through which you can promote, and you may even simply take out ads with these platforms to raise your profile inteh first place. Launching a product through this avenue could help you generate more hype and buzz than you had ever imagined possible.
Celebrate your product! If you can’t stand behind it, no one can. It’s important to really show what people can appreciate about your product, how it can work, and why people should get excited alongside you. This can be seen in your promotional material and copywriting, your branding, or just when and where you decide to release. For instance, throwing an event can be a means in which to bring people together and show them why they should support you, or it can generate hype that may ultimately end up being covered elsewhere. Real celebrations work, because everyone loves to celebrate.
With this advice, launching a product with style will be a great use of your time.
Running a business from home certainly has its advantages but without the credibility that larger businesses possess, it can sometimes be difficult to get taken seriously.
Still, this doesn't mean a home business owner can't find success, and this doesn't mean the business won't have the capacity to grow. Just look at Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos, for example, two entrepreneurial luminaries who eventually grew out of their homes and into (for want of better words) the big leagues!
So, if you're working from home, in whatever capacity, here are some tips to help you get taken seriously. You might then experience the growth that those now running multi-million companies have attained or, at the very least, make yourself a tidy income from whatever type of business you are running.
#1: Benefit from a virtual office address
If you are using your home address on your mailouts, your clients and customers might fail to take you seriously. Especially if you are trying to convey a professional image, it will be a direct giveaway that you are probably working from home in your pj's. This is where a virtual address comes in handy as it can give the impression that your business is bigger than it actually is. You can also benefit from a telephone answering service with the services of a virtual office provider, and again, this will do much to convey a more professional image. Follow the previous link for one example, and consider the benefits for you.
#2: Be careful with your video calls
If you're speaking to clients through Skype or any other type of video communication tech, be sure to dress well before making a call. While working from home can give you the opportunity to wear your pj's or slacks, your dress sense will reflect poorly on your image. Dress smartly then, and consider wearing a suit for those you are really trying to impress.
Be sure to make your calls in your home office too. This is far more professional than chatting with your clients in your living room, and it can also convey the image that you're not working from your home. We have some tips on designing a successful home office, so have a read of our article.
And finally, take note of this BBC news interview that was conducted with one esteemed professional. If you want your clients to take you seriously, be sure not to let your children interrupt you when you're having a serious business conversation!
#3: Brush up your brand image
Enlist the help of the professionals if you need help with this regard. A web designer will give you a professional-looking website, a photographer will give you the quality photos you need for your website and other promotional materials, and a copywriter will provide with you the written content you need to give that excellent first impression.
Be sure to ask your customers and clients for testimonials for your website, and ask them to leave reviews on business review sites as well. And have a separate social media account for your home business because your personal account just won't do if you want to be taken seriously, especially if some of the content is for friends eyes only!
By taking these steps, you will improve your brand image and improve your credibility.
We wish you every success with your home business!
If you are in a position where you are starting to think about working from home, that is a great opportunity that you are going to want to make the most of. It could be that you have started a business which you will run from home, or that you are trying to work from home more as a result of covid. Whatever it is, part of the process is going to be designing and building a home office which you can use and which you are likely to enjoy. Let’s take a look at what might be involved in that process.
Find Your Spot
First up, you need to find the spot in the home where you are going to have your office. Ideally, this will be somewhere that you don’t use for anything else. If you have a spare room, a basement, or even a garden shed, any of those could be ideal for a home office. It should be somewhere away from the general hubbub of the home, and where you are not going to be disturbed - or disturb anyone else in the home either. It also needs to be of a decent size, so that you can comfortably work there.
Build A Desk
Chances are, you are going to want a desk to work at. You can build one yourself easily enough. Anyone with even a basic understanding of woodworking can achieve this, and it is one of the easier projects you can hope to complete. Or you might decide that you want to get hold of one premade and simply install it, which can work just as well. In either case, you will then want to make sure that it is ready to work at, which might include fitting out electrics like a mains neon indicator, ensuring that everything is in its right place, and so on.
Although it might not be completely necessary, there is something wonderful about decorating the home office. It helps to make it a more enjoyable place to work, and it generally means that you are going to have a much better time of making the most of that spot. You can of course decorate it however you wish, but it might be worth bearing in mind just how different colours affect your productivity. Do your research on this and you should find that you can make the right decision.
Stock It Up
Finally, you now need to stock up your home office with everything that you will need to do your job well. As long as you have a place for everything, it is going to be much more the kind of place you hope to work, and you should find that it makes a huge difference to how the office feels to work in. All in all, building your own home office is simple enough, so consider doing it if you are thinking about working from home or starting a business to run from home as soon as possible.
No matter how strong our business plans, at some point we are going to run into a problem. Often this will be something that wasn’t of our creation, such as a recession or even the recent COVID-19 pandemic. We can’t get through life without hitting a little turbulence on the way, but we can control the severity of impact if we are prepared.
Regular crisis planning can help your business to avoid tricky situations and will prepare you for anything that crops up. The military uses a great strategy called the War Room Technique. Essentially they sit down in one room with all the critical personnel in the business. They discuss all possible threats and then work through all the potential outcomes. They then create a plan for each and every one of these. It can take some time, but the results will leave you with a set of solutions and actions, regardless of the situation.
If you have a small business, then you could outsource to help you highlight any potential issues. Look at IT support companies, specialist business accountants and PR consultants. These people can come to your business annually and work through all the areas of your yearly business plan that could be an issue.
For IT, you could utilise the experience of an ethical hacker. This is someone who operates like a criminal hacker, but they are on your side. Their job is to expose any issues within your online setup. They will find weaknesses and then come back to you with a report to show you what they were able to access and how. They can then work with an IT company to reduce your risk and help you stay one step ahead of any cyberattacks.
A PR consultant will run through your marketing plans for the next year and help you create a PR crisis plan. This will include a list of questions that could be asked of your company in the event of a crisis. Having this list pre-prepared with answers allows all of your key staff to speak in the same voice. It will help you to overcome any tricky media or consumer enquiries regardless of the crisis.
Finances are essential for your company, so speaking to your accounts team or outsourcing an independent business accountant could help you prepare for any unforeseen issues. Many businesses invest profits back into the company or into assets. This is great for growth, but in the event of a crisis can be a mistake. Your business should always have accessible savings to help secure the company in the event of an unexpected situation. Be this a cyber attack which takes you offline, a pandemic which causes you to close, a fire on your premises or even ill-health.
Building a strong crisis plan and reviewing it annually will help ensure you are prepared for anything that life throws at you, even through unprecedented times or unchartered waters.
A business launch takes a huge amount of time, effort, and planning, so for most entrepreneurs, plans usually stretch months if not years into the future. Such measures are entirely sensible; taking the time to ensure everything is in place prior to launch and that the business will be starting off on a strong footing is absolutely advantageous. However, for those planning to launch a business in the latter half of 2020, the landscape onto which they planned to launch has now suddenly changed beyond almost all recognition.
The impact of coronavirus
Much has been said about the impact of coronavirus on businesses, even with many country’s governments doing all they can to shore up support for companies. What’s more, the problems look to be far from temporary, given the scale of the recession that most financial experts seem to predict.
The vast majority of the focus, however, has been dedicated to established businesses; very little has been said about the fledgling businesses that were still in the planning phase at the time of the coronavirus outbreak.
Unfortunately, businesses in the early phase of life face the same challenges as established companies - and more still, given they do not have name recognition or an established customer base to lean on.
So is cancelling a launch the only option?
Many prospective business owners may assess the ongoing situation and assume that there is little point in opening their business under the current circumstances, and shelve their plans with the intent to wait for better times.
However, this doesn’t have to be the case. While businesses connected to the most affected sectors - such as travel and hospitality - could potentially benefit from a delay, other businesses remain viable even in difficult times. In fact, some aspects of launching a business are easier during difficult economic times: borrowing, for example, is cheaper than it will ever be, high fluidity of employment can mean businesses can attract great candidates to roles, and commercial rents can be cheaper if there’s a sudden surplus of properties as a result of a recession.
As a result, unless a business idea is in one of the industries that have been particularly impacted, moving forward with a business could still be worthwhile.
Quick tips for getting it right
If you decide your business is still viable for its launch this year, here are a few tips that can help everything goes smoothly:
Launching in 2020 is certainly still possible for many businesses, and the tips above can help to ensure the venture is as successful as possible.
Isn't life just hectic? Non-stop from the minute you climb out of your pit until you collapse into bed? BBC Worklife have a feature about 'how to reduce 'attention residue' in your life!
Entrepreneurs are everywhere now, creating a bedroom business into a multi-million pound global giant can happen! The Mirror has a list of 8 ideas for businesses this year!
Author - Chris
Author, Editor, Creator of this website.