Business owners - how did you do it??(9 Posts)
So have set up a business from scratch just three months ago and am doing well. However - I'm struggling to work out how to move on to the next stage (getting an office, employing people etc). Any tips or advice?!
What type of business is it? What type of location are you in? What has been your turnover/profit so far?
Congratulations on your success, you ought to be immensely proud.
You haven't given enough detail for me to offer any detailed advice unfortunately but my initial feeling is that you should try go stay grounded for now. I don't think 3 months is long enough to analyse your business in depth and forecast accurately. I found that there were lots of unforseen obstacles, some of them fairly minor but some of them significant. If I had tied business into long term leases/contracts and taken on staff based on my first few months of trading I wouldn't have a business now. Your circumstances may well mean that things are different for you but I would give it more time and make sure you can sustain your early success. If you start to have peaks and troughs in income you may find that your first lull could be the end of your business if you are locked into financial comitments and you don't have the capital to get through it. Early success is wonderful and I can tell that you are buoyed by it which is great but exercise a degree of caution. If you're doing well enough to pay yourself a good wage there is no rush, you have time to build up some capital and get plenty of feedback from the market to get a clear understanding of any pitfalls. You'll also get a better idea of where your industry is likely to go in the next few years so you can plan accordingly and you'll become more confident and more adept at handling the responsibilities of running a business from a regulatory and compliance point of view.
I hope this helps, best of luck to you.
I agree with Somerford. Give yourself at least a year. Pretty much all businesses are seasonal, even to a small extent so you need to have at least a hear under your belt before big decisions are made.
However, the only way to do it really is with a bit of a leap of faith. It’s scary, committing to stuff. When we first started our business out overheads were £300 per month. We didn’t take a wage at first. Three years on they’re £5k per month. That’s before we even think about making any profit. The first few years are usually about reinvestment and living off bread and water to make it happen.
The way we look at it is that we set ourselves up as a limited company so our personal liabilities are small and if it all goes to shit, we can get jobs doing other stuff quite easily.
I own my own business. I set it up on my own around 3 years ago. Now I employ 3 staff and we have a respectable turnover which is growing.
My advice is to outsource anything you don't have the passion and skill for (for me it's the accounts and finances side of things) and put your energy into what you're good at. I chose to invest in the best equipment I could afford and train my staff as much as I could. We emphasise quality in everything we do and work ethically, always managing the customer's expectations and looking after their wellbeing. I'm in this for the long haul so i' m doing my best to build a strong reputation and so far (touch wood!) It seems to be working.
Another suggestion, try to anticipate any threats in the medium to long term. Do you have competitors who will respond when you come onto their radar and adapt their strategy to win back customers/clients that you may have taken from them? Are there any technological advances in the offing which could undermine you and mean that you have to drop your prices or radically change the way that you operate? These things are crucial because you need to be very confident that your long term plan will materialise before you start employing people. It's quite easy to adapt when you are a small and agile outfit with low overheads. It's far more difficult when you have employed a team of staff and your overheads are much higher.
I suppose what I'm trying to say is that enthusiasm and excitement are wonderful feelings, that's why you put the hours in and make sacrfices. But you need to keep those feelings in check to some degree and plan for worst case scenarios. If your business as it stands can't survive a worst case situation should one arise, you're gambling if you press on with expansion now and you'll lose it all if the gamble doesn't pay off. Careful, well thought out and sustainable growth is the key. Or at least it was for me.
We have our own business. I would advise you to stay as small as possible location wise for now. If you can work from home, keep doing that for now.
Also perhaps just have some casual staff (friends who will help) for now. Hubby and I sometimes put in 14 hour days to keep our over heads as low as possible.
And the one that everyone forgets..... don't forget to allow for your taxation bills. They're endless, but horrific if you don't expect them.
Have you tried your local Chamber of Commerce? They have a lot of advice for start-ups.
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