Considering setting up a business as a side project? You’re far from alone. Right now, many families are finding themselves facing financial difficulty or tightening belts as we make our way through a cost of living crisis. Many of our wages are remaining stagnant, while the cost of everyday essentials like housing, energy, fuel, food and more go up and up. Having your own business could provide you with extra means of income to support yourself and your family through these trying times. Of course, setting up your own business isn’t the easiest process. There are countless areas that you’re going to have to focus on, from product design and development to funding, marketing, order fulfilment, bringing in help and so much more. But don’t fret. Here’s some key information that should really help you along the way!
Of course, not all of us just have money lying around to cover the costs of starting up a business. Starting a business tends to come hand in hand with a lot of outgoings and investments in the early stages. This can be costly. If you don’t have savings to dig into, you’re going to have to think of financing options.
There are a lot of different types of business loans and grants out there, so it’s important that you do your research to determine which will best suit your needs and which you should feel confident in taking out. First, look into grants. Grants are sums of money that you will be given to invest into your business, which you won’t have to pay back. This is the most ideal form of funding, as it means that you don’t have to worry about financial repercussions if your business does fail.
Different areas have different options, so get searching and call relevant authorities or providers for further information while completing the application process. Now, loans. Most start ups will take out some sort of business loan. These are amounts of money that you will have to pay back, most often with interest applied. When taking out a loan, you need to do some serious maths to figure out how much is reasonable. You need to ensure that you only take out a reasonable amount that you project you will definitely be able to pay back.
A financial advisor will be able to take a look at your business plan and provide you with guidance on how much you will need to get started and how much you can realistically apply for. When choosing a loan, shop around for the best terms. You should ideally choose something with the lowest interest rate possible, as this will reduce the amount that borrowing costs you.
Create a Budget
Once you’ve got your funding, you need to make sure that you budget it out properly. All too many start ups use their funding as a pot that they simply dip into whenever they need money for something within their operations. But this isn’t how things should work. You need to make sure that you consider how much you have available, the total cost of absolute essentials you need to invest in to get things up and running and how much you have left over (if any). This means budgeting. By creating a budget, you can get a good overview of your business’ money and attribute it to the right places. This will prevent you from ever running out unexpectedly, or overspending in any particular area, leaving other areas neglected or unable to get off the ground. If you’re not sure where to get started with this, a good financial advisor will be able to help.
From the outset of starting a business, you need an accountant on hand. They can serve as your bookkeeper, tracking spending and making sure that you have kept records of everything. When you run your own business, you will find that you have to file self assessments at the end of each tax year, being wholly responsible for managing, submitting and pay your own taxes and your business’ taxes on time. For those of us who are unfamiliar with the system, this can be complex and confusing. An accountant won’t just monitor your business’ spending, but they will be able to show you what spends can be tax deductible or classed as expenses, helping to ensure you only pay the right amount at the end of each tax year, rather than potentially paying too much.
Creating Your Product
If you’re going to run a business, you’re going to need something to sell. This means designing a product. If you’re considering starting a business, chances are, you already have an idea in your head that you think will perform well. But don’t get ahead of yourself. Diving straight into the deep end of manufacturing your product could be very problematic. First, you need to do some market research and financial planning. You may think that your product is great, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that anyone else will. You also need to make sure that people are willing to pay a price for your product that allows for a profit margin.
You could have a great idea that many people are interested in and would want, but if it costs a small fortune to manufacture and you have to put a large price tag on it to cover costs and allow for profit, you may find that people don’t want it that much. Conducting market research will allow you to present your ideas to your target demographic and get good feedback on whether they’d be likely to actually buy your product when it hit store shelves or online stores. Once you have the go ahead, it’s time to get your product off to a manufacturer.
Test any prototypes for safety, according to the rules and regulations of your area of operation, and then get your first run off to creation. Generally, outsourcing manufacturing is the best idea for small start ups, as you don’t have to invest in factory space, heavy equipment and machinery or the staff to operate it all. You can simply pay someone else to do all of this instead!
Branding and Marketing
You need your product to stand out from the others available. This is where branding can come into play. Branding is how you let people know that the product they’re buying comes from you. It’s important in regards to building your company into a well known name, ensuring that people know what to search for if they want to buy from you again and how people will be able to recommend you through word of mouth. We’re all familiar with successful brands, as they’ve become household names that everyone knows – Coca Cola, Apple, Amazon, McDonalds… the list goes on. Branding can be an extensive process.
Many small businesses tend to outsource this to an agency or freelancers who can help with everything from colour schemes to logos, fonts and even company tone of voice. Marketing is also going to be extremely important to your success. Marketing is the process that lets people know your brand and products exist. It’s what entices them to actually buy from you. There are so many different ways that you can market your brand that you’ll need to take time to set up proper marketing campaigns. From giving out branded freebies using branded products from FlashDrive.com.au to running PPC ad campaigns, billboards, posters, leaflets, email marketing, social media marketing and more. Both online and offline options are good to invest in.
You need to make sure that you’re supporting your customers well. No matter where you’re selling – whether that’s through platforms like Amazon or through your own website – you’re going to find that people need to get in touch with you for a number of reasons. Perhaps they need advice and guidance before buying a product, wanting to learn more about its features or determining which of two is best for them. Maybe they are unhappy with an item that they ordered and want a refund or exchange.
Opening up communication can help to garner sales and can help you to maintain a good reputation. Offer multiple means of outreach. This could be a business email, a business phone number, social media platform messaging, instant chat features on your page and more. Respond quickly, politely and do what you can to keep your customers as happy as possible. You can even outsource customer support when you aren’t working to ensure that it is monitored around the clock.
As you can see, there are so many different areas that you’re going to have to focus on when it comes to creating your own business – and we’ve only just scratched the surface here! This is a large task to take on, but all in all, if you experience success, it will prove more than worth your time and effort. Hopefully, some of the information outlined above will serve as good guidance!