Blog: Starting A Business- Where To Start
Key points and decisions when starting a business
Fiona Bebbington is a Business Growth Broker at Cheshire and Warrington Growth Hub, before joining the team, Fiona worked within the events, tourism, public sector and higher education sectors.
In this blog, Fiona explains some of the key points and decisions for anyone who is thinking about starting a business.
Starting up a new business can be a scary concept but is often borne out of the need to offer a better product or service to customers. You may be very experienced in your field but have no experience in the processes involved in setting up a business. There needs to be a great deal of thought and planning which can seem overwhelming, hopefully the blog below can help you navigate the process.
What is your business idea?
If you have decided to set up a business, you will have an idea of what you want to sell. Make sure you carry out market research within your sector, so you can refine your idea to meet the customers’ needs. Important questions to ask yourself are:
- Is there a demand for your business idea?
- Who is your target market?
- Are there already competitors in the marketplace offering the same or similar?
- How can you improve on this, and what will your Unique Selling Point (USP) be to make your product or service stand out?
- What is the ethos of the company, will you have sustainable practices, for example, that is different from competitors in the field?
These questions will start to form the basis of your business plan.
Writing a business plan
Once you have refined your business idea, there will be further considerations and questions, including:
- What is your business trying to achieve?
- Who will your target customers be, what is their demographic and how can you communicate best with them to make them aware of your product or service?
- Why should they choose to buy from you?
There are lots of useful business plan templates available to get you started, including: GOV.UK or Start Up Loans Company. Once you have completed your business plan, we would suggest that you get in touch with our team as we can help you access resources and support to help you with launching your business.
Sourcing funds to set up
A key element of your business plan will be the financial aspects; do you need any initial capital funds to start the business? Can you source this from your own savings, or will you need a loan? Could it be possible to maintain existing full-time employment whilst gradually building up the business? If you need to purchase equipment, would it be prudent to buy second hand initially and then invest in new equipment once the business is established?
Again, this is something the Growth Hub team can help you to understand some of the different options available and what may be best suited to you and your business.
There are a few different options available to you when setting up your business.
As well as deciding on your legal business structure, you may also need to think about:
- Non-disclosure agreements to protect yourself.
- Registering a patent, trademark or protecting your intellectual property.
- Employer’s liability insurance.
- Business insurance such as professional liability insurance.
- How you will store and share your customers data ensuring it is GDPR compliant and you are meeting your information and data privacy rights.
For someone setting up for the first time it can be hard to understand what you may need at what point on your business’ journey, so please contact the Growth Hub team if you are unsure of what legal documents you may need.
Marketing your product or service
Prior to launching and within your business plan you will need to have a clear identity of your brand and what it stands for that your customers can relate to. A logo and brand name can be a good starting point that can be replicated across your printed and digital marketing platforms, including social media, but it is most effective when it is supported by a marketing plan, so you are clear about your customer base, your messages and how you intend to engage with them.
Medium- and long-term goals
Hopefully your business launch will go well, and you will experience gradual business growth in the early years. Often businesses may reach growth where they need support to take their business to the ‘next level’, whether that’s looking for bigger premises or recruiting new team members. Our team of expert business advisors are on hand to support you with this, and we would always encourage you to keep in touch with the team, we are always here to help!