A guide to starting your own business
We’re keen to support a new generation of business owners who’re thinking about kick starting their very own ‘side hustle’. If you’re not sure where to start, or want more information on how to make your start-up budget go further, we’re here to help. And remember, running a business is more than just numbers, we’ve also got some useful hints and tips around ensuring your values and beliefs remain at the core of your business.
If you’re looking for more general information on how to make the most of your money, or if you’re in financial difficulties, please visit our help with managing my money page.
Recipe for success
What does it take to become a successful business owner?
- The best business ideas solve an existing problem and meet the needs of customers. Find out very early on what the demand for your product or service is.
- Having the right attitude is also key. The journey to success isn’t always plain sailing, so maintaining a positive outlook when things get tough is important.
- Be realistic about your abilities. Taking an online aptitude test may help unlock your potential. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses will ensure your business can thrive.
- Check out our ‘Being your own boss’ webinar for more information.
What should you do to get your business off the ground?
- Test your ideas as soon as you can. The sooner real customers can start to give you feedback, the sooner you’ll know if your idea has the potential to sell. Using a tool like the business model canvas can help capture and test your ideas.
- Take a look at your competition. The more you know about your competitors, the more chance you’ll have of standing out from the crowd. The British Library is a great place to start industry research.
- Choosing the right legal structure for your business is key. We know it’s admin you could do without, but getting this part right at the beginning will save you time and effort in the future.
- Get a business current account. We’ve got a range of accounts and some even come with start-up offers.
Making the most of your budget
How to make your budget work for you
- Do one thing well. Focussing on what you do best will help make sure your resources aren’t spread too thinly.
- Aim to build your customer base. Ask for referrals, reviews and recommendations – this is all free marketing. Social media also helps.
- Go digital. Building a website doesn’t have to be expensive but a web presence lets you reach a larger customer audience. Check out Squarespace for inspiration. Or you can build your own app at AppInstitute
- For other ways to make the most of your budget, take a look at this directory of tools
We’ve also got a ‘Starting on a shoestring’ video which more tips and advice.
More than just a business
How to make sure your business has longevity
- Personal values are the characteristics and behaviours that are important to you. Whether it’s being truthful and honest or showing strength and determination. These are the things that will motivate and guide you, and your business.
- Setting out your personal values when creating your business will help you be different from everyone else. Your clients or customers will value them as much as you.
- As your business grows, it’s important you don’t lose your core values as these really are the foundation to your success.
- Take a look at the DIY toolkit aimed at social enterprises or purpose driven businesses.
‘The person behind the business’ webinar we’ve created may also be give you food for thought.
Learn even more about expanding your skills, resilience and wellbeing and being your own boss with our careers videos