Marketing: PR on a budget
Andrea Sexton, director of her own strategic marketing and brand development company, reveals her top PR tips for people on a budget.Read More
Today, an astonishing five and a half million Brits – that’s one in seven of us – run their own business. Self-employment is now, more than ever before, a realistic dream for millions. If you’re considering ditching the day job and starting your own business, it’s important to first establish whether you are the right person to be in business. Despite the glamorous image that high-profile entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson may have, the reality for many start-ups is that they struggle to survive. In fact, it is said that one in three new businesses fail within the first three years. It takes a certain type of character to handle the highs and lows of running a business. Ask yourself whether you are prepared to work 18 hour days, and not have the certainty of a pay packet at the end of the week. Running a business, particularly in the early days, can test the nerves of even the most entrepreneurial individuals. Make sure you’re ready for it to be tough, and be prepared to be resilient.
The harsh reality of being in business is that customers are very different from employers. There isn’t a comfort blanket, and it most definitely isn’t easy. It’s not all doom and gloom though. Provided that you can handle the stresses of being in business, there are significant rewards for those who get it right. The freedom that owning your own business gives you allows you to choose when you will work, who you will work for, and how you will work. You can potentially also earn far more money than you could in employment, with a saleable asset if the business is successful.
If you’re sure you’re cut out to run a business, the next step is to check your business’s feasibility. Carry out serious (and objective) market research first to ensure your vision is a valid and feasible idea. Many entrepreneurs believe that they need to have a completely unique business, but this isn’t necessarily true. However, your business will need to be unique in some way – either in how it does things internally, or the external benefits that the customer receives. This will become your “unique selling proposition”, which will set you apart from your competition. If you haven’t found this yet, you need to spend some time working out how your idea will be different before launching.
You will need to have a robust business plan. It doesn’t need to be long-winded, but you do need to have a strong vision of what you are trying to achieve, and how you are going to get there. Having a relevant strategy plan for your business can be the make or break of its survival. It needs to be actionable, and in alignment with your personal goals as well as your business goals.