Starting your own business is not an easy feat. There are a lot of hoops to jump through before you can establish yourself as a business and that includes gaining some experience, some qualifications and gaining perspective. It takes passion, strength and a lot of determination to float an idea, get financial backing and make a break for it in the business world. Most people go through school and choose their career paths based on subjects they learn every day. Those who love science tend to go into creating their own inventions or medicine. Those who love art will always find a way to earn money from their expressiveness. At school, we go from one day having to ask to go to the bathroom during class, to being told to decide what we want to do for the rest of our lives. It’s not an easy decision and if your dream is to own your own business, you need to take the time to get educated before you can do that.
Never assume you have missed the boat with your education. There are plenty of people who get to eighteen years old and need a break from sitting in front of a board. There is never anything stopping you from gaining the right business qualifications in later life, or bumping up the qualifications you have with online courses that can thicken your CV and the knowledge you have. Mature students are always appreciated by university institutions because they bring with them the want to learn, rather than the ‘have to’ learn of most young people. Once you’ve given yourself the chance to add more to your CV and your knowledge base, it’s time to look at what you can offer in terms of your business idea.
Business people are impressive people. Owning their own company, making a profit and hiring a staff takes tenacity and while not everyone has that naturally, it’s something you can learn. Motivating yourself to get up every morning and go to a job that you aren’t passionate about, also takes tenacity. But it does mean you should change how you do things. A lot of people who are successful with new business ventures have more life experience than they do letters after their name. Unfortunately, this isn’t considered by companies when they hire you and they often like to know you have a piece of paper confirming you can do something, instead of a CV full of experience. It’s one of life’s biggest catch-22 situations. Do you get experience without a job? Probably not. But you can get a job without experience, right? Nope, probably not. Being tenacious enough to get your foot in the door of a great company you can learn from is a trait you’ll need for your business start-up, so hang on to that and keep trying!
So, let’s say you have an amazing business idea. You want to be the next big thing, the next entrepreneur winning awards at ceremonies with champagne toasts, red carpets and a profit line that says you mean business. Where do you even start? Well, the good news is that putting your business idea to work means you need to look at where your strengths lay. If you have a particular product or service in mind that you intend to offer people, you can get to work on it right away, before you start looking for premises. Even if you are still at university, still learning and still in the baby stages of business, there is nothing stopping you from setting up a website from the comfort of your bedroom and marketing yourself. Get to know what people want and whether the service you can offer is already out there in the world. If what you want to offer is already being done, this is good news! It means you can learn from your competition while you learn the basics. Studying for a degree or doing a brand-new course while you set up a new business is not a bad idea. In fact, learning how to sell your idea while you learn is smart.
Get to know who your competitors are aiming at. Get to know what their customers want. Start marketing yourself on social media sites and gain connections and contacts on LinkedIn. What you want to achieve can happen if you are willing to put the work in and educating yourself on how your service can impact others is something you must do before you get motivated and start actually selling your idea and as time moves forward, you’ll be gaining valuable skills through formal educational qualifications, courses and bare experience.
Researching your target market can take time and while you’re doing that, you can be mapping out the basics of a business plan. Every good, strong business with potential requires a strong business plan. Turning your dream into a reality requires help and with a business plan, you can approach banks and silent partners and make it happen. You need something to offer people that they want, but you also need to know the type of business structure you want. There are three usual types of business: sole trader, limited company or finding a business partner. If you prefer to work your business alone, starting out as a sole trader and growing into a limited company is what needs to happen. Never jump into the deep end of business before you can tread water, as you’ll be far more likely to drown.
The business plan you create can be a vital asset in securing investment and give you a clear, concise idea of where you want your business to go. You wouldn’t build a house without a plan, so don’t dive into your business without one. This all comes under the learning you will need to do before you make a start on your business. You have to educate yourself before you can hope to educate others on what you and your services can do for them. If you do not have a clear idea for yourself, how can you expect your customers to?
Before you are ready to get up and running, you need to decide on your business name and a logo. Don’t put too much thought into these in the early days; purely because you want to grow into your brand and you want your brand to grow with you, too. Give yourself a name that is strong and memorable. Take some short courses on accounting and marketing to give yourself a basic education on how to ensure you do both of these right for your business. If you have grand plans to grow over the VAT thresholds, for example, you need to plan for this as early as you can. This gives you a solid grounding in how you want your new business to shape.
Being ready to pass GO and play the game means you have educated yourself thoroughly in exactly where you want your business to go and how you’re going to get there. Staying motivated is never going to be easy, but the confidence you can build by taking the time to learn slowly will get you where you want to be. A last bit of advice for you before you go: always, always ask for help when you need it. Start daydreaming about red carpet events and champagne toasts, because it seems like you’re ready to be an entrepreneurial superstar.