I want to start a business but don't know where to begin
Don't worry, you're not alone in feeling this way and there are several different ways you can get over this feeling.
There are three key things you need to have in order for any business to succeed. They are: a viable business idea, enough money to start the business and a little pinch of luck.
That's all well and good, but how do I come up with an idea?
There are no wrong or right ways to come up with an idea. Just as there are no wrong or right ideas. Most people start a business doing something they already know about or have an interest in. For example, they may have experience working in a jewellers and think they can come up with their own jewellery designs to sell, or they may have an interest in web design and do it as a hobby before starting up on their own. Or they may start a business after noticing a gap in the market, such as developing a bracelet that uses facial recognition and gives a readout of the names of the people in the room - this could be useful for the forgetful people at large events. These are examples of people taking the plunge with their own businesses, but what if they don't feel that comfortable with their idea but still want to work for themselves?
People that have no idea what to do apart from work for themselves can look at buying into a franchise. This allows them to work for themselves but using a recognised brand in order to draw in customers. The British Franchise Association (bfa) has many useful links and tips if you think that a franchise is the way to go.
Can you make your business work?
This comes down to one main point; is your idea viable?
Before you even think of starting your business you need to check the viability of your idea. This checks that customers will want to buy from you at the prices you need to charge in order to make a profit from the items.
If you feel as though you have tapped into a lucrative market that no one else has then you can pretty much plough on as you'll be the only one there doing it. However you can still benefit from market research to ensure you are setting up in the right place. The more feedback you gather, the more informed you can make your decision. Just remember not to get blinded and only look at the positive feedback, you need to take all feedback into account.
Now, look at the competition in your area. This can be local to you or even distance sellers that cover your market. You need to look at the size of the competition and whether or not you can beat them on price (this may not be easy to gauge in some markets), and also look at the services they offer and how they differ from your own. Remember, if they're failing in an area, you can use that to avoid making the same mistake.
Now work out a business plan. By having your plan in place before you start trading you can look at the ideas your business in based around and change anything you don't like the look of before you start trading. This means you don't waste time, effort and money on an idea you could have just not started with. This can improve the chances of success with your business.
Consider what you're bringing to the business
Your new business depends on you to run it. You can employ others but only you can have the vision of where to take it. Imagine it like a baby - you're the main carer, you can employ others to look after your baby when you're not around but it's you that has the final say of how it will be raised. Your personal experiences, your business experience, your time, your money, your skills, your attitude and your commitment will all come into play when you start up. You might have the greatest business idea in the world, but without your attributes it'll never take off. Sorry.
So what can you do if you're lacking? There are several options, such as, you could start a partnership where each person brings their own different skillset into the business. Alternatively, you could look at training in order to gain the knowledge yourself. There are plenty of resources out there if you know where to look - this link from the Start Up Donut has several useful links on it highlighting where you can seek help.
I'm still unsure
It's ok to not know, but sometimes you just need to take the plunge in order to see for yourself what would happen.
If you need help finding an accountant for your new business then check out our sister site FindanAccountant.co.uk.
And if you need help with your day-to-day accounting then check out our other sister site QuickFile.co.uk.