So, you’ve chosen the red pill and are going it alone, huh?
You’ve told your boss to shove it, you’re fed up working Monday – Friday, 9 – 5 and you have a dream.
Brilliant, now the fun begins where you can choose which 18 hours a day you are in hustle mode, have no regular income and have plenty of time to flick through Youtube and Reddit and all of a sudden you’re an expert on cat videos and ‘asking to see the manager’.
But, seriously though, you’ve a long hard slog ahead of you to build your dream – believe me, it will be hard work – so, to help you through the first hurdles, here’s some things I recommend you don’t do right off the blocks.
1, Glossy brochures
You’ve always dreamed of manufacturing widgets and now the time has come to get the message out there.
The plan – You’re going to trundle over to your targets’ HQ with your laptop and powerpoint presentation and woo their arse off with the shiny new brochures you just spent £5,000 having designed and printed.
OK. So, you’ve no money coming in but managed to spend £5k on a load of brochures that’ll eventually just be ‘filed’ in a cupboard?
2, All singing, all dancing website
The only company that needs an all-singing, all-dancing flashy website is the company selling all-singing, all-dancing flashy websites.
Yes, you do need to get an online presence but, at this point, you simply need to get your domain name registered, sign up with WordPress, write some content and take some photos.
Once the cash starts rolling in, then you might want to update/ upgrade the functions you need for your online business presence, but for now, just concentrate on getting clients.
3, CRM system
Well, from the off it’s best to plan ahead and start collecting data but, that doesn’t mean you have to fork out a big monthly subscription for something you’ll only use 2% of.
At a minimum, and of course it depends on what data you’re collecting, you can opt for a simple Google Sheet or speak with your web host and see what 1 click installs they provide in this area.
4, No product/ service (from a funding/ investors POV)
If you really do need investment, you’ll need to provide minute details of the product or service plus you’ll have to demonstrate actual sales.
No-one will invest in the idea you had in the pub last Friday for an app that is going to change the world.
No-one will invest in your business unless they can see an immediate return.
If you aren’t already selling then no-one is buying.
The other side of this point is, do you really need investment? If so, are there no free/ cheap alternatives that you can utilise to bootstrap (which is basically the crux of this article)?
Don’t forget, if you actually do find someone to invest, you’ll effectively be working for them which is the main reason you left your job in the first place.
5, Business plan
In relation to number 4, unless you’re going for some serious investment, you really don’t need to spend the next 6 months writing a book, producing glorious images and having it covered in natural leather.
Yes, you do need some form of business plan, an outline of what you, realistically, want to achieve, when etc, but, get to the point, and use this as a guide for your own sanity and direction.
Just don’t waste precious time and money on something that will simply be stacked on the shelf.
Ultimately, you’ve started up your new business for various reasons but, above all else you need to pay the mortgage which means you need to concentrate on getting new clients.
I regularly see people spending too much time and effort on the above only to regret it soon after.
Be proud of your decisions, get out there and sell and when you’re making too much money, read this article and look at the above as commodity for reducing your company tax bills.
If you’re looking for help or advice on setting yourself up in business, get in touch today.