When getting set up in business, it’s important that you do your research…
Starting up a company takes more than just a spark of an idea. You need to carefully contemplate, research and plan to create a good business. It is important to know what your company will face long before you reach the point of no return. Here are seven important things you need to look into before starting up your own company:
A great idea doesn’t just magically turn into a viable business model; few businesses reach success without thorough research and careful planning. A business plan needs to include the direction your company plans to follow, the specific methods it will use every step of the way and how it plans to make money! A solid business plan will attract investors, help you specifically map out your plans and keep you focused on reaching your end goals.
In order to determine important economical factors, like taxes and liability, you will have to choose a legal structure for your business. If you are the only owner and the only employee, then operating as sole trader is probably the best option. Other options include limited company, business partnership, limited partnership, unincorporated association and social enterprises. Each of these has benefits and restrictions so it’s advisable to anticipate and research which will be best for your company.
Know Your Enemy
You may have a viable structure, but you also need to make sure your company is relevant to its industry. Knowing what is currently available on the market is essential to discovering your company’s value and its USP (Unique Selling Point). You will need to thoroughly research your competition to get a feel for what they offer, their sales point and their marketing techniques. You may want to find a market niche or work to overthrow a struggling competitor.
Determining the who is almost as important as determining the what – your target audience will affect branding decisions and marketing tactics. Knowing who you are selling to is important not just to understand where to place ads but also what kind of language to use, what else they buy and allows you to gauge whether the market is already saturated. Smaller audiences mean there is less of a customer base that companies can share. Your company will have one or more target audiences and establishing this ahead of time will save a lot of wasted effort during the initial startup stages.
Once you’ve determined your audience and your competition, you will want to outline what direction your company is going to be taking. Branding involves your logo design, company language and mission. Company branding is about the look, feel and direction that the company will take and establishing your brand will mean remaining consistent to these values.
Will your company be down-to-earth, high-end, affordable, transparent, or something entirely different? Branding even determines what products you choose to offer, what you call those products and how you display them. Consistent branding is important for establishing brand recognition and customer trust.
Marketing and E-commerce
Branding, competition, and target audience will also have influence on how and where you are available. Nearly all companies demand a strong online presence – if only to provide information – but normally this is to offer e-commerce opportunities to their customers. Some companies advertise with PPC ads, TV spots, radio ads, magazine ads, and more. Depending on the target audience, your brand may want to offer an educational blog or provide a strong presence on specific social media platforms.
Licensing and Legal Documentation
In the UK companies need to be registered with Companies House, using the proper legal documents. These include Form IN01, the Memorandum of Association and the Articles of Association. You can download all these documents on the Companies House website. Companies House does not provide an online registration service due to the legalities involved, so be prepared to send in paper forms or use a formation agent website.
Starting a new business is a lot of work, but the freedom and potential success of running your own company, working towards your own goals and vision can be more fulfilling and motivating than being paid to dance to someone else’s tune.
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