6 things to consider when setting up a small business
This month RIMU Marketing celebrates its 7th business birthday. The time has flown by and I consider myself very fortunate to have had the privilege to work with some inspirational small business owners along the way. I love working with the creative, media, charity, sports, leisure and hospitality industries and I have even had the good fortune to work with a canine dog massage business, which was brilliant fun! Certainly a different take on things but such an inspirational small business owner.
As we head out of lock down and things are starting to feel more positive. There will undoubtably be a fall out from recent experiences and some people may find that they are either made redundant or take the opportunity to realise their dreams and work for themselves. Either way, if this is you, or someone you know, I share some thoughts below that I wish I had known when I started out:
Before you set up your own business, talk to your friends and family about it. It is a big jump to take, from working in a corporate role to setting up on your own. There is no question that there are many benefits to working for yourself – it works for many, but it is not for everyone. There are also some things to consider, the main ones I think being around time and money. Yes for sure, a big motivator behind many of us starting out by ourselves is to be able to work flexible hours – but you also need to be prepared when you start out to put the hours in. It is not always possible to jump from working in a corporate role to working for yourself and you generate the same salary. Of course, if you are lucky to be able to take time to set things up before you make the leap or have some redundancy behind you that always helps. I love working for myself, the freedom to choose who I work with and the projects I work on – but it is not for everyone and undoubtably affects those around us.
As soon as you can build a team around you. When you work for yourself, you also have to become and accountant, HR expert, legal expert, marketer – the list goes on. I remember a conversation when I first started out with my husband that my business had to be able to support an accountant, because I knew that it would be too stressful not to have one. I am pleased to say that I have a brilliant accountant. At the end of the tax year, I hand over my taxes and am reassured in the knowledge that she knows what she is talking about and will take care of everything for me. Work out where your skill gaps are and buy in support to help you along the way as soon as you can.
Be authentic. One of the things I talk to my clients about is a “little bit of magic”, what that really translates to is their passion for what they do. I have never seen a more hard working personal trainer, florist or nutritionist who runs their own business – they will always go above and beyond to ensure they provide the best customer service ever! That little bit of sparkle is often what sets them apart from their competition.
Be patient. Depending how you leave one mode of employment to another things can be tricky. Try where you can to leave any corporate role in the best way possible and know that it will take time for you to build things up. How long may vary from person to person, but allowing six-months to a year to get really established, will serve you in good stead. That does not mean to say that you won’t generate any income during that time, but there is a lot to set up and get organised, not least in building a website, which is your shop window, so that you clients can know and understand your product or service. Being kind and patient with yourself is really important.
Of course having a plan, defining an approach and, if you can be clear on your messaging and niche, will all help you get to where you wish to get to quickly. All underpinned by a solid marketing approach will ensure your business success.
The final and biggest piece of advice I can offer is to enjoy what you do, ensure you define and work towards achieving a consistent work/ life balance. Decide what the optimum way of working is for you, your family and your business and then make that work. Certainly you will have busy times but ensure you also balance that with down time as well, block it out in your diary if you need to.
If you are starting out, good luck, I am always happy to help where I can so please just reach out and of course if you would like some marketing help and advice please do get in touch.