17th July 2013
In starting a company, you can’t second guess every obstacle you’ll face along the way, but you can make sure you have a firm foundation for growth. Ward Williams Creative offers the following tips to start ups:
Don't expect your business to take off over night. Some very fortunate people have this experience, but most work at it for years before they gain success. A software company may take two years or more getting their product to a stage where it’s ready to go to market, so make sure your funding will last until you reach revenue stage.
Check your business idea for sustainability. You may be great at what you do, or have a product that delivers excellent benefits, but if it’s not significantly different or cheaper than what's already out there, it won’t have a future.
Know the market and your position within it. Many entrepreneurs are so busy doing what they do, that they don't look at figures, research or market findings which can help make vital decisions like when would be a good time to launch a new product.
Identify the skills your business requires. Work out which ones you don't have and go and get them; it's vital that you build a team covering all basic business skill sets.
Get to market as quickly as you can. If you have a new product or technology, the speed of getting to market is going to be very important as someone will have the same idea at some point, so make sure you get there first.
Get everything in writing -funding, shareholders agreements, employee contracts, supplier agreements, everything! When you start out it’s very exciting and a bit overwhelming and people may say they will do something to help. However, if the business struggles, people can change their mind very quickly and with nothing in writing you will have no protection.
Network and maintain marketing activity It’s no use being busy now and having no work in two months time. Always find some time to keep in contact with people and do some basic networking; it may seem pointless but it will pay off over time.
Use the many free resources available for start ups. The government site, www.gov.uk/browse/business, has lots of links to advice and potentials grants or mentors. If you are in London why not come to one of the Ward Williams Creative free drop in business clinics at 81 Rivington Street, London, EC2A 3AY every Tuesday in September & October 2013 (meeting room 7). No appointment is required - just pop in or email a query in advance to email@example.com.
Anticipate any possible political situations with industry partners or clients and think how you could alleviate them.
Don't be afraid to fail - it happens, you can come back from it and if you don't try you will never succeed. Many very successful entrepreneurs have failure in their past. If it happens to you, learn from it and move on.