How many of us are reading this article in the office? Eyes fixed in the middle distance, dreaming of something more. Procrastinating, planning, hypothesising; anything but working for a boss you despise, doing a job which rewards you with nothing but backache, eye strain and an urge to drain the pub dry at 5pm. If this sounds all too familiar, it’s time to consider striking out on your own. And while running your own independent business certainly isn’t easy, the bounty is manifest. So, if you’re eager for change, then read on; our 5 IDEAL tips for start-up success.
KNOW YOUR MARKET INSIDE AND OUT
This should go without saying but we’ll say it nonetheless; you need to know your target niche market inside out for best results. Start-up, independent businesses don’t have the luxury of huge, generic mailing lists and massive, all-encompassing social media reach. So, you simply can’t afford to be lazy while researching your specific target market when the pool of people willing to spend their pounds is, by definition, slimmer.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Location is everything when thinking about your independent business. Because you’re new, untested and likely unheard of, it’s probable that organic traffic won’t flow through your door right away. Your positioning, then, physically, is a really important thing to get right. Research conducted by business finance provider Liberis looked into independent retailer hotspots, analysing the number of local businesses per capita in 20 major cities, as well discovering which demographics are most supportive towards small local businesses.
Interestingly, North England and Scotland made up the majority of the top ten, with Glasgow at number one. With so many start-ups fixated on the power of the pound in London, it might be time for a rethink. Location can make or break your business, so do your due diligence thoroughly about where HQ will be.
SHARE THE LOAD
The demands of renting an office space could prove to be the difference between significantly increased outgoings and a stagnating business proposition. In the early days of your start-up, being prudent with your budget is so important. And it’s not just the rent you have to worry about, office-space wise; there’s heating, lighting and insurance bills to consider, not to mention the business rates and price of wifi. Also, in case you hadn’t made the connection between the commute to work and people’s bleeding bank balance, consider that the average person spends £148 each month getting to and from work – according to the Metro that’s a whopping £135,871 spent on travel by retirement time. Indeed, time is money. So when starting-up, consider sharing office space to keep those initial outlays low.
At one point in time, the word ‘influencer’ would refer to the likes of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr — people who had a voice to influence the masses for a better change in the world. However, with the advancements in technology and the creation of revolutionary social media platforms, the meaning of that word is now significantly different. Today’s Instagram influencers, resented by many but certainly not to be ignored, are using their online presence to propel messages to millions of people around the globe — and this has created a new trend in marketing. Yep, forget about television adverts and magazine spreads; promoting your brand through influencer marketing is the way forward.
The start-up road is rocky, fickle and wrought with hurdles. There will be issues early on which you haven’t accounted (or budgeted) for. But accept that this is a normal part of the process; the unpredictability is one of the only things you can predict. Don’t throw the towel in as soon as things get tough. Instead, embrace the challenge and persevere. It will get easier.