When starting up a business, geting advice from trusted sources, and those who have started businesses themselves can be helpful in avoiding major mistakes that others have made, and make for a smooth as possible business development. At 8 Digital, we’ve put together a few tips to help start-ups out. 8 Digital is a full service online marketing agency, established in 2010 in Oxfordshire, working alongside our associate company SeeLocal, a local online advertising platform to provide businesses of all sizes and industries to improve their marketing campaign results.
- Read and get inspiration from the mistakes of others- There are so many stories out there from successful entrepreneurs, about mistakes and problems they faced when starting their business. Read these stories, learn from them and implement them into your own plans. Henry J Heinz, now most famous for being the man behind the brand Heinz, most famous for selling ketchup cans of baked beans. Henry struggled with his company in the early days, initially the company was started with some of Henr’s friends in 1869 selling horseradish sauce in clear bottles. Unfortunately, they just couldn’t sustain the market and went bankrupt in 1875. Heinz quickly rebranded, and formed a new business with his cousin, selling tomato ketchup, and the company took off. By 1888, Henry was able to buy out his family members and launched his first of many impressive factories. Today, Heinz sell more than 650 million bottles of ketchup every year, not to mention baked beans and the many other products that have been developed over the years.
- Get Experience- Make sure you have in-depth knowledge of the sector you want to launch into. Have you worked in various roles within the sector, or just one area? Before you start on your own, you should have some experience and have as much knowledge of the sector as possible, such as working in different departments or roles to get a good overview and insight into the running of different companies in the sector.
- Conduct plenty of market research- you will need to know your competition. What products or services like your already exist? What differentiates yours from theirs (if anything)- not all businesses are unique, and in many industries, competition is fierce. How can you be sure to appeal to your audience more than your competition, can you offer something noticeably better or cheaper, if so how can you prove it to your audience? Spend plenty of time researching market research databases to really make sure you know your market inside out. You can also use market research to improve your business plan, this can help you get ahead of your competition.
- Take time to grow- Start running the business from home, growing slowly and building up profits by keeping overheads to a minimum. Too many start-ups are too eager to make it big, that they end up taking on staff and offices that then make their overheads too large to handle, leaving them with debts they ca’t afford. It’s all about playing the long game, taking time to build up a reputation and customer base, then moving on gradually whilst building the amount of cash in the business. Taking steps to growing your business too early can be the death of your business. There are many tools to help keep your finances in check. Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or an established business, QuickBooks offers a wide range of accounting plansto help manage financials so you can focus on what really matters.
- Have a catchy name and logo- come up with a name that explains what you do, is memorable and short, and a logo that compliments it. Perhaps a play on words that is unique to your company. Once you have these sorted, you can build your website and social media channels for self-promotion. This is where SeeLocal specialises, in providing low cost, local online advertising campaigns to get small businesses noticed in their local area, before branching out to larger campaigns.
- Look into funding and grants- it is worth looking around at what funds and grants your company could be eligible for. If your company is regarded as a social enterprise, there are organisations such as the UnLtD that can give awards to businesses with a social aim. If you struggled at school, have been through the care system, been negatively involved with the law or been unemployed for a long period, and are now trying to start your own business, The Prince’s Trust provide practical and financial support for those who fit these criteria. The government also have loans of up to £25,000 available for start-up businesses for anyone over the age of 18, so it’s definitely worth having a look around to see what help you could get.