Successful entrepreneurs are usually inspired by other successful entrepreneurs. If you have a great business idea or are on the cusp of setting up your own company, sometimes it helps to hear how others have achieved business brilliance.
In a new OnePoll survey conducted by Reed Commercial, 100 female business owners were asked “What advice do you have for other women looking to start a new business venture?” Here are the top 10 pieces of advice from the respondents:
1. “Research before you start”
Market research is a vital part of your business’s preparation and planning. Identify your target audience, pricing points and evolve your ideas until you have a clear business plan and route to success.
2. “Find your niche”
One respondent said: “Do not try to make your business everything to everyone.” This is sage advice and potential business owners need to find a clear USP to address the market needs.
3. “Don’t borrow too much to set up. Start small and you will be ok”
One of the most critical planning tasks is to work out how much it will cost to set up your business. Try to keep any expenditure to a minimum during the startup phase – or you will just put added pressure on yourself to make money in those early, already highly pressured, days.
4. “Build a cash reserve”
It’s not enough to save the minimum amount to get your business off the ground, you must also make sure you have enough money to live on while your business is growing. Figure out how much you need to pay your bills, set up the business and any other overheads for a minimum of three months.
5. “Accept guidance”
Blinkered business owners will not succeed. One respondent said: “use your friends as sounding boards and testers”, another recommended that you “get a mentor”. Another route is to use the HMRC’s e-learning tool, which provides guidance on issues that individuals face when starting up a new business
6. “Get an accountant”
Try to find a specialist small business accountant. They will not only advise you on the most profitable way to operate (be that as a sole trader, limited company or other incarnation), they will also fill out all the necessary paperwork for the HMRC on your behalf, file your VAT and tax returns and offer a whole host of other business services. This frees you from balancing the books so you can focus on running your business.
7. “Networking is key”
Business networking allows you to expand your knowledge, learn from others, meet new clients and contacts and tell others about your business. It is also a way to build a network of friends and associates with similar ambition and drive. With such support, you are more likely to succeed as a group.
8. “Make sure you have a work/life balance”
Juggling a business and a home life can be tricky, according to the respondents, so it is important to maintain a work/life balance to avoid burnout. That said, less than three percent, said difficulties such as stress and isolation had caused issues for their business.
9. “Trust your instinct”
Many of the respondents recommended following your intuition and trusting in your skills and experience. One respondent said: “Go with instinct, never think you have a bad decision – you made the right decision at the time with the information you had”.
10. “Go for it!”
This nugget of advice was given by one-quarter of our respondents, who recommended other women looking to start a new business venture to “get excited, pay attention to those that you aspire to, and never quit”.