For the budding entrepreneur, starting a new business can seem like a minefield. In order to get started, you need to break the process down into manageable chunks, and focus on making as much progress as you can. Try to dedicate some time to planning each day, working around your current work schedule to move closer to your dream. Here are some steps to get you started:
Come up with an idea
In order to start your own business in London, you need to come up with a solid idea as it’s a competitive market. There are many ways to do this, but here are some of the most popular:
• Find a gap in the market – what do people need in London that doesn’t currently exist?
• Focus on your own skills and experience – how can you use your qualities to benefit others?
For example, if you’re an experienced engineer, perhaps you can develop a product that responds to a common challenge people face in their everyday lives as city-dwellers.
Get creative – and write all of your ideas down, no matter how ridiculous they may seem. You only need to look at the success of the Banana Guard to see this approach works incredibly well! If you have an idea, but don’t know how to develop it, you can enlist the help of an external engineering or production company to produce a prototype.
Evaluate your skills and knowledge
Once you have your idea, you need to work out what you can contribute to the business, and where you may need some extra help.
For example, if you have a great business idea, but can’t get your head around the financial aspects, work with an accountant to develop your business plan. This will help you minimise any financial risk, and plan the tasks that must be completed to take your idea to the next level.
There are many services available in London within your reach since it’s such a big city. Or you could take advantage of one of the many free workshops run by community hubs to help you evaluate your ideas and resources. As London inspires so many to have a business of their own, start up owners network at events and they’re fantastic places to go to meet like-minded people and gain contacts to help you. It’s all on your doorstep, so grab the opportunities.
Seek professional advice where necessary
If you’re not experienced with business strategy, growth, or sales, find yourself a reputable and experienced mentor. Whilst this will require an initial investment, it will help you ensure your business is a success – and maximise returns further down the line.
If you don’t want to make the investment yourself, investigate schemes that can help you achieve the same results.
Learn as much as you can
Education is key to business success. The more you learn, the better you become. Schedule some time each week to learn and, if you can afford to, consider undertaking professional qualifications relevant to your area of business. If you’re going to hire staff, take a management course to ensure you can lead your team effectively.
Also research businesses you admire and learn from them. Little Bou Boutique is a great example of a small retailer that operates online and has a good social media presence with their customers. As well as selling designer children’s clothes, they have a voice for the industry that parents trust and want to listen to. The blog outlines different styles for the season and designers to try, whilst their Facebook page is a resource for parents to ask questions and interact with the owners. If you’re considering setting up an online retail store – which doesn’t have the overhead costs associated with London – their digital marketing strategies are well worth checking out.
Get on with it!
If you’re determined to run your own business in London, get started as soon as you can! One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is simply not starting. Focus on getting the important tasks done, rather than striving for perfection. Any time you spend deferring your idea is halting your progress. Set clear, measurable and well-defined goals to ensure you keep moving.