THE BLOG

Essential Tips for Starting Your Own Business

22/01/2014 16:14 GMT | Updated 24/03/2014 09:59 GMT

Ever had an idea for your own business but been too busy with a nine to five job? Always wanted to be your own boss but found it hard to get the wheels in motion?

PeoplePerHour, a leading global marketplace connecting startups and small businesses with a community of talented freelancers, has seen the number of over-55 year olds starting a small business almost double in the past 12 months.

Top tips for setting up shop.

Money, money, money. As obvious as it might sound, having enough capital to start your business is crucial. If you're prepared to invest some time doing online research, there are various start-up loans and grants available to budding small businesses. While your business is in its infancy, ensure that you have enough cash stowed away for a rainy day, or to live off until you start making money. Many seasoned entrepreneurs would advise you not to borrow any more than you need. Bootstrap your business where possible, as it means less risk.

Outsourcing. If you're not an expert in web design or copy writing, let someone else take care of it for you. PeoplePerHour have a whole host of highly skilled virtual freelancers on standby offering to work for competitive rates. Likewise, if you can't afford to appoint a full-time PA but need admin doing, why not take advantage of a virtual assistant and outsource those mundane tasks that take up precious time?

Play by the rules. Don't take any chances when it comes to the law. It's a legal requirement that all businesses register with HMRC. Insurance is equally important. Depending on the nature of your business, you may require professional indemnity cover and public liability insurance. If homeworking, you must ensure that your home insurance policy is updated and if you use your car for business purposes, your motor insurer will want to know.

Know your market. Research is your friend. Know your product or service and your target customer inside out. You needn't worry about being in Scotland if your key contacts are based in London or even New York. Whether you're in e-commerce or PR, the internet is a fantastic means of promoting your business to an international audience.

Have a clear brand. With more small businesses starting up than ever, it's imperative to have a clear and consistent brand. Particularly applicable to your online profile, logos should be strong and websites regularly updated. Think of your website as your shop window.

Logos and colour schemes on business cards should match your website, which should match your complement slips, which should match your letterhead and email signature (you get the idea!). This is your opportunity to showcase your shiny new business - use it! You might want to get thinking about social media and search engine optimisation (SEO) so potential clients and customers can find you more easily.

MORE: