We started our web design company back in 2013 and we’ve been growing ever since so hopefully we know a bit about starting out in the world of business! We can help you as a start-up business, click here for more information. Here are 5 tips that we have found helped us in the last 3 years.
1. Offer what people want to buy, not just what you want to sell
Too often, people jump into a business built around a product or service they think will be successful, rather than one that is already proven to have a market. It’s a good idea to consider offering products you know will sell alongside your initial offering. You can then assess what has done well and what hasn’t after 6 to 12 months, cutting off the less profitable parts and focusing on what is selling.
2. Get cash flowing ASAP
Cash flow is absolutely essential in keeping any business running. You need to find ways as a new business to keep the cash flowing. So how do you accomplish that? If you’re in professional services, you might ask for a deposit on work upfront, with the rest of the balance due on delivery. Although it’s harder to do the same in retail, you can still offer this on high-ticket items or special items. You may be able to sell it as ensuring delivery by a specific date.
3. Pick a name that stands out
The name of your business can be very important to success in the first few years. If it’s too obscure, you’ll have to work harder to let potential customers know what you’re talking about. Another thing to consider is the domain name for your website. You might think you have a good name but if your customers can’t easily find you on Google, it’s a problem. We’re happy to check this for you if you contact us. Take our name for example: PL1 Web Design. It’s clear in the name that we offer web design and we’re in Plymouth (PL1 being a Plymouth post code). Once you go to our website, you can see the rest of our services such as search engine optimisation, social media marketing and much more.
4. Register with HMRC and get an accountant!
If you’re self-employed, notify HMRC that you have started trading as a sole trader or a LTD company straight away. When you start employing people, register as an employer. When sales go over £83k, you will need to register for VAT. Don’t be fined for not complying! Finding a good accountant helps get a business’ finances in shape. It’s good to find an accountant who has dealt with other businesses in your industry as they will understand your ins and outs better. An accountant can advise on start-up expenditure, registering with tax authorities and more. Make sure you know what the accountant will charge. Are their fees monthly or annual? Are there any entry or exit fees? How much will extra work be charged at if it falls outside the agreed tasks to be performed for your business?
5. Start marketing and build your brand
Don’t expect customers to fall in your lap when you start trading – you need to market yourself. As a website design company, we offer a number of affordable website packages for start-up companies and small businesses. You could create a website yourself but we’ve learnt to leave specialist services to the people who specialise in them over the past few years. For example, we have an accountant for our accounts. The main reason for doing this is it allows us to focus on what we do best and drive the business forward. Rather than taking a long time learning a new skill, we prefer to stick to the main goal – develop your business and make money!
Social media can be a cost-effective way to get your brand out there. However, you need to be clear about who your target market is and how best to interact with them with your posts. Networking and word of mouth are great ways to win sales and slowly grow your business. Organising events can be a good, albeit expensive, option. Make sure you can afford to put on these kind of events before you start.