We all have dreams of being our own boss, but when the reality is that you’ve been eating beans on toast in your university halls for the past 3 years rather than plotting world domination, it can certainly feel like a dream that will never become a reality.
Worrying that all is lost will get you nowhere, but with a hefty dose of ambition and the right people and tools around you, starting your own business won’t feel like a far off dream that only occurs once your head hits the pillow.
With lots of research, careful planning and a little know how you’ll soon be on your way to creating your own 9 to 5 and who knows where that could lead you.
Research, Research, Research
It goes without saying that your business idea needs to be unique. If it lacks that element which makes it stand out from the rest then quite simply it probably won’t be worth your time. The best businesses are often created out of a solutions to a problem, because let’s face it any business which helps make lives easier, better or more enjoyable are often onto a winner.
Once you’ve come up with your initial idea you’ll need to conduct market research. Market research is a step you really can’t afford to miss as it’ll help you to pad out your idea ready for when you create your business plan.
You’ll need to analyse the current market or industry the product or service would sit in, decide who your target market is, create a proposed pricing structure and brand proposals before putting this forward to a focus group alongside surveys and interviews. All of this will allow you to hone your business idea down to its core and create something which has more chance of succeeding.
Create a Business Plan
Hearing the words ‘business plan’ may send you into a frenzy but it needn’t do. Business plans are really quite simple when you dissect them into manageable segments to complete. Think of it as your business manual, it needs to cover everything your business will do, how it will be run and how it’ll reach its intended goal.
In your business plan you’ll need to cover; an executive summary outlining your proposal, the background to your business, what your business is and what it will do, competitor analysis, how your business meets consumer needs, how you’ll market and sell your product or service, management structures, business operations, financial forecasts and business risks.
It might seem like a hefty list to tackle at first but if you complete it in bite sized chunks it’ll soon seem much more manageable, plus it’s likely you’ll already know your business inside out at this point. Once complete you’ll be ready to present your business plan.
Find your Funding
It’s likely that any business you want to set up will need financial backing, and if your student loan has left your bank balance looking a little worse for wear then you’ll need to get some kind of financial backing on board.
This isn’t to say that you need millions of pounds to really succeed, far from it, as many successful businesses started in the bedroom and have gone on to achieve billionaire status (looking at you Mark Zuckerberg).
If you do need help then there are a number of organisations in the UK that can help fund your business and make it a success. The Prince’s Trust is one of the most popular and well-known trusts in the UK which has helped over 800,000 young people since it began through start-up funding, training and education.
Crowdfunding is a relatively new way to raise capital to fund your business, with often anonymous investors backing a business in return for a ‘reward’ which could be anything from a branded t-shirt, keyring or a mug.
Build your Brand
Business plan complete and funding done and dusted it’s time to get building your brand. This is the fun part where you’ll really start to see your business idea come to life and get those creative juices flowing.
If you thought branding was simply about creating a logo and you’re good to go, then you’re in for a shock. When creating your brand you need to consider everything from how your brand looks visually, how it would interact if it were a person, the story it tells and the value it adds to your business.
Branding should help you to focus your businesses unique selling point, and really allow you to define the niche you set out to create a product or service for. Keep your eye firmly on your goal and allow this to dictate the path your branding takes.
With your brand complete, you can then get set on actually starting your business beginning with promoting it. You’ll have already detailed your marketing strategy in your business plan so it’s likely you’ll already have a well thought out plan of action, but if you don’t then take the time to plan your strategy before going in full steam ahead.
When it comes to promoting your business you want to do something which really makes your business memorable above all others. So create a digital launch campaign which gets everyone talking, create a buzz at events and get your name out there.
It’s also worth remembering that everyone loves a freebie, but giving stuff away without a message to read or any real purpose can leave you out of pocket with little return. Branded USBs ones are a great way to share your brand and offer many promotional benefits, you can also have your message hidden on the USB and give someone a take away they’ll actually use too.
Creating your own business can become a reality, so dream big and you could be the next bedroom business millionaire.