As a brand new business, it can often feel like the world is against you, as obstacle after obstacle appears in your way. When you’re in this situation, it can be helpful to know that you’re not on your own, and that others have been through exactly the same thing.
We’ve compiled the biggest considerations faced by all new SMEs, along with some top tips and solutions, to help you through the early years:
Choosing a location
One of the initial decisions for any new business is where to set up – whether that be establishing an online presence alone, or choosing the perfect location for your office, shop or warehouse.
Before you make the all-important choice, it’s vital that you understand your market: If you are a retailer, then it would be silly not to have an eCommerce site in this day-and-age. You can still establish an actual shop presence if the footfall is right, but high streets are on the decline, so an online shop may prove more profitable for you – plus you can cut out many of the overheads associated with physical premises.
If you’re looking for an office, then consider what you will need your premises for: Do you need clients to be able to visit you regularly? Do you need to build a decent-sized workforce? If so, then a physical office space is probably best.
If you opt not to have a physical presence it could be worth investigating using virtual receptionist services. They provide a way for you to never miss out on phone enquiries without hiring a full time employee. You can save money and never lose business.
Of course, you will also need to consider your storage space; how much room are you likely to need? Do you need to purchase somewhere with a warehouse now or could you get away with self-storage for the short-term?
Virtual office space
If client visits are infrequent and your business will be run by a limited workforce, then it may make more sense to opt for virtual office space instead. But what is a virtual office space?
A virtual office is a way for people to connect and work together if they are working remotely or in a non centralised working environment. You can do this through an online phone system, web chat, virtual receptionist, cloud internet services and many other means to work remotely.
Using a virtual office can be your way to find the best talent around the world and not have to relocate them. Technology has allowed the office to evolve. Setting up a new business is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of it.
Financing your startup
Securing funding for your new business can be difficult and stressful, so the most sensible thing to do is to enlist the help of a specialist. Team up with experienced finance brokers to take some of the pressure off finding the best possible deal.
Instead of meeting with lender after lender, you can present your broker with all of your credentials and they can do the legwork for you – leaving you free to focus on the other aspects of your start-up.
Building a strong team
It is imperative to know who you need in your employment right from the start. If your brand is small and you can manage for a while with just yourself and a helper, then perfect. If, on the other hand, you expect quick expansion or you need a team of people to deal with client queries, then it’s important that you cherry-pick the best applicants.
Recruitment can be a timely and costly process, so it’s best to get it as accurate as possible the first time around to reduce the risk of further recruitment needs in the immediate future. Take your time and you will reap the rewards of quality staff.
No matter what stage your business is at, it’s important that you stay afloat. Nobody wants to set up their dream venture only to find that they’re slipping into the red a year down the line.
Keep an accurate record of all of your transactions – both in and out of the business – and be sure not to go beyond your means. It’s no good kitting your shop or office out with the latest on-trend furniture only to find that you’re left out of pocket; and it’s all well and good having a team that you can rely on, but the picture won’t be so pleasant if there’s no money to pay them at the end of the month.
Staying in the black must always be at the forefront of your mind when running a business and it can be all too easy to get caught-up and confused with all of the number-crunching and the tax returns, so get a reliable accountant on board early so you don’t have to worry about this yourself.
Those are just a handful of the key considerations and struggles faced by all new businesses – what’s the main difficulty you faced when setting up your first business and how did you overcome it?