Many people think starting your own business is an overwhelming challenge, but the truth is, it's far simpler than you think.
Taking control of your working life by venturing out on your own may be scary, but it's far better to take control of your own destiny than waste your life in a stuffy office working for someone else. And in many cases, running your own business offers far more job security.
Leaving the corporate world to start my coaching practice helping women create a life and business they love has been the biggest blessing of my life. I've managed to construct a lifestyle that allows me to live my passion, earn money doing something I adore, whilst fitting my working hours around my family. What more could I ask for!
If you're toying with the idea of going it alone, let me share with you my seven steps to starting a business from the comfort of your own sofa.
Be clear on why you want to start a business in the first place
Why do you want to start your own business? Self-employment is wonderfully freeing, but it isn't for everyone, so really consider all the pros and cons. In the early days you very often have to play all roles, from finance manager, business manager, marketing manager to the cleaner. It's full-on and takes determination, focus and patience. You need to know exactly what you're letting yourself in for, so do your research!
Decide on your line of business
In order to love your work and be super successful you must have a passion for what you do. In my coaching practice I help women all over the world to find their life purpose, to discover their genius and bring it into the world. I am truly passionate about this subject, so for me, work feels more like play and I get paid to do it! Look at your natural talents and gifts, what are you really passionate about? What are you really good at? What would you love to earn a living doing? Also, consider what is going to make you different from all the other florists, beauty salons, coaches and so on. What's your USP?
Create a simple plan
Don't get freaked out by this. You don't have to create a fully comprehensive business plan at this stage. Just create a simple 12-month plan of all the things you are going to have to achieve, taking you from the ideas stage through to launch day and beyond. Include things like, what you'll be offering, who you'll be targeting, how much you'll charge and what you'll do to make it happen. It's a fluid process that will change once you dive in, so keep it simple. Consider seeking out a business mentor or coach to give you support, it can make the world of difference.
What's your niche?
Who is your target market? A common mistake new business owners make is to target everyone with a pulse. I did the same when I set out. This doesn't work in the long run. Determine exactly who your perfect customers are with great specificity, their sex, age, income, location and so on. Knowing your niche enables you to market directly to them. Once you're clear on your market you can design your website, your packaging, your business cards so that they attract your specific niche. The more you can pinpoint your targeted client, the more focused your marketing efforts will be to reach them. In the long run, this is what's going to make your business successful and thrive.
Your pricing shouldn't just cover your costs; it must also generate a profit for your business. Very often when starting out, we simply don't charge enough for our product or service. Don't undervalue your time and talent. Think about it like this, when shopping you see two gorgeous dresses, one is £10 and the other £100, which one do you think you'll value the most and enjoy wearing the most? When deciding on your pricing, work the numbers from the top down: What are you looking to make annually? How does that break down monthly and weekly? How many products must you sell or how many clients will you need to bring in to meet those numbers? Play around with the numbers so you know what's realistic as you get going--and revisit your numbers monthly. If you don't get your pricing right, you aren't going to be in business very long, so get it right from the get go.
The money honey!
How will you fund your business start-up? Some suggestions might be, using good old savings, asking family or friends for help or investment, bank loans, student loan, scholarship, grants, angel investment, putting money on your mortgage, business start up loan, going part-time or going freelance. I personally started my business with a tenner in my back pocket. Yes really. I maintained my day job, whilst I worked on getting my business off the ground in the evenings. Yes, it was hard work initially, but within 12 months I was in a position to quit my job and work for myself full-time.
Get out there!
It's all about marketing, marketing, marketing! As an ex marketing manager, I know this more than anyone. You need a marketing plan. Each week you need to schedule in one day where your sole focus is to get out there and market your product or service. Many business owners are very reactive when it comes to marketing, only advertising when their customers dry up. This invariably creates the feast or famine effect, which is not good for business. Create a simple marketing and activity plan at the beginning of the year and implement it. This will ensure you have a steady and lucrative business.
If you're looking for support launching your own business then get in touch www.thegameoflife.co.uk
Follow Louise Presley-Turner on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@mygameoflife