New year is a time for new starts, so if you are making a major career-themed resolution this year, it is likely to be in one of two areas: Either to find yourself a better job, or to leave the rat race of paid employment entirely and start out on your own. If you fall into the latter camp, you are in good company. New business startups are at an all time high, and if you have a great idea and the will to succeed, maybe it is time to stop thinking about it and start acting. Here are some things you need to keep in mind to make your new business dream into a reality.
Talk about it
The first stage after “thinking about it” should be “talking about it.” Discuss your idea with friends and associates, particularly those who are operating in similar or related fields to your business idea. This will achieve three things.
First, articulating your plan in words will help clarify it in your own mind. Once you’ve chatted about it with half a dozen people, you will able to articulate the business model clearly and concisely in less than 30 seconds. Secondly, those in related industries can provide their own thoughts that will help to refine your idea. Finally, these are often potential suppliers, customers or business partners for your new business you are talking to. In other words, you’ve already started establishing your commercial network.
Take it slowly
If you think you can pack in your job, launch a new business and start watching the money come rolling in all in the space of a week, you need to think again. There’s no need to try to achieve everything at once, and the most successful startups are the ones that start slow and are given a chance to grow. Tempting though it might be to tell the boss what he or she can do with your current job, just hold fire until the new enterprise is starting to gain momentum.
Decide on the structure
Sole trader, partnership or limited company? It’s the first and most fundamental decision you need to make. Sole trader businesses are the most common type of startup, but weigh up all the options. If you are going into it with someone else, that’s great, we all know that two heads are better than one. But make sure roles, responsibilities and liabilities are clearly agreed in the form of a Partnership Agreement before either of you start investing time and money into the enterprise.
Get the paperwork in order
Sure, form filling is not the most exciting part of launching a new business, but it needs to be done in order to protect you, the business and your customers. Get standard terms and conditions drawn up to ensure the contractual relationship between you and your customers is crystal clear. If in doubt, invest in a couple of hours with a lawyer – it is money well spent as any gaps in the terms will be certain to come back to haunt you sooner or later.
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