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Entrepreneurship 101: Launching Your Startup

Deciding to go it alone, resign from your full time employed role and launch your own startup can be a terrifying prospect. However, if you have a money-making dream that you want to turn into a reality, you need to go down the path of entrepreneurship. If you are keen to follow the same career path but in a freelance setting you can become the master of your own professional destiny. Alternatively, you might prefer to wave goodbye to the shackles of your job and follow a passion for food, craft or art when launching your own business. Whatever it is that you choose to do there are a range of common factors that you need to get right in order for your business to be one of the twenty per cent that don’t fail within their first eighteen months of trading.

Business Plan

When writing your business plan, don’t just print off a generic online template without personalizing it to your venture. Online templates are great at guiding you through the business formation thought process. Forget about scribbling down your ideas on a piece of paper and take a more formal approach. A business plan should be a working document and well thumbed. Don’t write a business plan as a box ticking exercise only to place it in a filing cabinet never to see the light of day again. A business plan should help you create your business vision, your company ethos and your core branding.

Funding

As a new startup, you will need to look at your finances very carefully. Most startups need some sort of initial cash injection. There are ways to limit your overheads such as by working from home or sharing office space, but you may need investors. Consider heading to your bank and pitching your business plan to the individual who looks after loan applications. A business loan is probably the most traditional method of securing initial financing for your new business.

You could choose to follow an alternative path. Business angels are industry leading individuals who have been incredibly successful within their sector. They are ready to invest their own hard earned cash into ventures that they deem profitable. Pitching to a business angel requires a higher level of business acumen. Be prepared to be scrutinized on your financial forecasting, you will need to know how to demonstrate risk mitigation, and you need to know your gross from your net.

If a business angel invests in your venture, then you can consider your startup idea well and truly validated. Not only will a business angel invest money, but they will also come with the best industry contacts and invaluable knowledge and guidance to help your venture succeed.

Marketing

Your venture needs to generate a following. This means marketing your product, business and services to the masses. When starting a new business, consider producing some high quality direct mail materials enabling you to hit large geographical regions in one hit. Target your demographic and calculate what sort of marketing material will be most apt before you get it delivered.

The millennial generation are more inclined to head to their smartphones or laptops to hot foot it onto social media channels in order to source their news, research businesses, do their shopping and communicate. You need to tap into this psyche in order to see your startup thrive and to future proof it. Ensure that you have Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. Make sure that you update your feeds regularly with relevant and meaningful content. Utilize e hashtags and display your wares and services on the Instagram platform. This visual platform is a great way to seduce your potential market with a lifestyle. Ensure that you link back to your website and shop pages to maximize your hits and sales.

You need to hit the ground running as a newbie on the scene, so pay particular attention to incentivizing your potential customer base with discounts and offers. This can result in sales, and you can show off your positive customer service skills. The more orders you get, the more revenue you build-up meaning that you can reinvest your profits into your business. As your reputation builds, you can then think about expansion, but not without securing the orders, the repeat business and the reputation.

While daunting, being your own boss can be life-affirming. Make sure that you follow your dreams, and use your business plan to plot your entrepreneurial journey. Follow this guide and launch your startup successfully.

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