Contents • Advice when starting your own business • Finance Options for businesses • Maintaining your brand • Keeping employees motivated • Keeping your business afloat
Test Your idea You need to make sure you have a good idea before you start Do some market research: • Does your idea already exist? • Who are your competitors and how strong are they? • Do your potential customers even want what you are offering? • Is there anything else they would like to see (think about future development opportunities)?
Write your business plan Write a detailed business plan so you know where you are going Make sure you include: • An overview • Detail what the business is all about • Your Marketing and Sales Strategy • Who you are and your experiences • Details of operations (what you need e.g. office space, computers, business broadband, etc. • Financial details (your sales projections, how much cash you have to put in the business and what your costs will be including your business energy or salary costs)
Pick a good name • Picking the name of your business is a delicate process so here are some things to consider: • Make sure you stand out from your competitors • But don’t be so obscure your customers don’t understand or remember your name • Don’t pick something geographical, you may expand • Be broad with your name which allows you to diversify • Test out a few different names on potential customers, they will give you honest feedback
Finance options • Think you can only get funding when you are starting out? Wrong!There are a number of options available to you. • Go to your bank and get some invoice discounting advice as this service can be a big support to your business • Re-evaluate your spending- could you save some money and improve your cash flow?
Re-evaluate your finances • The first thing you need to do before you look for alternative finance options, have a look at your own finances. • Go over your in-goings and out-goings to make sure you are not over spending in any area. • Evaluate if you can run your business more efficiently to cost save.
Government Grants • If you are interested in getting a Government Grant try this tool from the Government. • There are a number of different options from skills and training, access to advice and knowledge and financial. • There are also country specific grants to look at both the UK site as well as the Scottish/Welsh/Irish/ English support options.
Innovate • Cloud Computing- Can your employees work from home via an online network? It would save you money on an office and it’s costs. • Flexible Hours- Can you change the hours your employees work to save money on travel tickets? • Ask your employees if there is a better way they could work? Ultimately they will know how to work more effectively.
Maintaining your brand • Tip one: Brand goal setting • Tip two: Brand reinforcement • Tip three: Employee and client interaction
Tip 1: Brand goal setting Setting goals for your brand will help you keep a measurable agenda for your brand success so making sure that you list these goals right at the forefront of your brand launch is essential. • There are for steps to take to formulate your brand goals: • Identify what you want to ultimately achieve with your personal brand • Break down your ultimate goal into milestone goals and set timeframes for achieving them • Create supporting tasks to help your milestone goals and schedule them quarterly, monthly, weekly, daily etc. • Keep your goals in a place you will see daily to keep them in the top of your mind
Tip 2: Brand reinforcement There are various ways to ensure that your brand is reinforced in the public eye and there are 5 ways to go about this either individually or as part of a greater campaign: • Advertising: Brand advertising plays a huge role in reinforcing brands. It showcases brand worth through multiple media outlets from online advertising to print media. • Trade Shows, Exhibitions and Conferences: Exhibitions are used to demonstrate your brand and allow your buyers and shoppers in interact with and your brand. • Events and Sponsorship: This is another viable medium to strengthening your brand virtually and at events. • Merchandising: In-store displays are vital communications tools which guide customers towards making purchases. • Promotions: Promotional activities can go a long way to strengthen brand relationship and loyalty through rewards and incentives.
Tip 3: Employee & client interactions There are simple ways to gain a brand reputation amongst your existing client base and these can be instilled by a few easy to do techniques: • Answering machines: Make sure that your business telephone systems are set up to automatically answer prior to pick up from clients or potential clients which communicates your brand in a clear and professional way. • Employee awareness: If you are re-launching or changing your brand, you need to hold unit meetings within your company to explain your brand to your employees so everyone is on the same page. • Signature templates: Create an email template signature that promotes your new brand and social networking channels for all employees which will help everyone adjust to the brand name.
Tip 1: Competition • Encourage some friendly competition between your employees to encourage them to work more efficiently. • They can be graded on a leader board for certain benchmarks that you set which will not only increase productivity and employee motivation but will hopefully result in positive outcomes for your company in terms of increased sales.
Tip 2: Incentives Co-ordinate your leader board competitions with incentives as well as launching company campaigns that encourage employees to do better by offering up incentives like bonuses, staff nights out, more days off or even an activity day in the office. Some ideas could be: • Having a party • Conducting small to medium contests • Introducing beverage days such as breakfasts or drinks after work Incentives could also range to more useful, long term rewards like earning business health insurance or profit shares.
Tip 3: Team building There are lots of ways to motivate your employees with team building but here are two great ideas: • Blind Fold Jigsaw: “This is exactly what it sounds! It is a giant jigsaw and each team member will take it in turns to collect the pieces scattered around, with the use of a wheelbarrow. However, the team member will be blindfolded and will need to listen to their other team members who will be giving clear instruction and guidance towards the pieces of jigsaw. Once all the pieces of the jigsaw have been gathered, the team will need to assemble the jigsaw” • The Rope Bridge: “Get each of your squad and the de-activator across the rope bridge (mind your heads on the cross beams). The rope bridge then gets washed away and with the equipment remaining you must construct another bridge to get across the ravine to safety.” Bainzaivents.com
Tip 4: Skills development Make sure that your employees feel that they have regular training so they can perform their job well. The benefits of training are: • “Improves morale of employees- Training helps the employee to get job security and job satisfaction. • Less supervision- A well trained employee will be well acquainted with the job and will need less of supervision. • Fewer accidents- Errors are less likely to occur if the employee is adequately trained. • Chances of promotion- Employees acquire skills and efficiency during training therefore are more eligible for promotion and become a valuable asset for the company. • Increased productivity- Training improves efficiency and productivity of employees so there is less wastage of time, and resources Management Study Guide.com
Tip 5: Communication It is vitally important that you communicate with your employees so that they feel like they are being heard and that their opinion counts for something which will motivate them in their day to day routine. Most importantly when it comes to communication: • “Your employees should be made aware of the benefits you offer early and often. An initial discussion before they are hired and frequent communications thereafter will ensure everyone remains engaged and up-to-date.”- insperity.com
Be social Social Networks are free to run and only cost you the time to keep them maintained but they can be a great way to encourage loyal customers as well as attracting new customers. Ensure you are on a few different sites so you attract a wide range of customers:
Constant Reviewing It is important to constantly review your business so you know how you are performing: • What do your customers think? • What about your employees? • How are you spending your money? • Do you need to sell all you are? If there is not a demand for it, lose it.
Additional Sources A number of sources were used to compile this ebook some of which are hyperlinked on the slide page, the others are below: • BT Business Insight • Government Support and Advice • Invoice Discounting Advice • UK Government advice • HMRC