Having just been involved in the start-up of my new organisation, Lighthouse Personnel Ltd, I am aware that for many budding entrepreneurs like myself, there is some cracking information available out there on advice and guidance for taking the plunge and going out on your own. What I am also thoroughly aware of is that you can never get enough advice, and the more reading and resources you draw upon, the better equipped you will be to take that leap of faith. So here is me, giving back to those in a similar situation to myself, to hopefully benefit them when starting out alone.
Firstly, and fundamentally, 1. Finance. Finance goes hand in hand with the 2. Idea of your new venture, however ideally comes first. If, like me, you have a burning desire to set up on your own at some stage and are awaiting that golden idea, it is crucial to get yourself into a ready state to just go for it. Writing an effective business plan, working out a budget of costs, along with budgeting your personal living costs for the next 6-12 months WILL make or break your new business. Being realistic and even pessimistic at times is a good thing in this situation, over pricing your potential costs, and under forecasting your potential revenue, could provide you with much needed time to get off the ground.
Once you have your idea (and have deliberated it for three months or so), it is strongly recommended to chat it over with close friends and family, who you know will challenge your thoughts and test your belief in the idea which again will be extremely important when day 1 (and the months that follow), hit.
So, you have that desire to do it, you’ve budgeted effectively and now have that golden idea that you just cannot wait to share, what’s next? 3. Surround yourself with good people. The right people could be cornerstones in your new project; I have learnt during my preparation that people can be priceless, providing you with free resources and tips, helping you to develop your ideas and assist with your workload. The right people will be your support network and you will want them singing with you when you succeed and crying with you when you crash. The wrong people can be both unreliable and unpredictable, causing you uncertainty when you need it the least, costing you valuable time. Choose and choose wisely who you keep close during this time; as when that decision is finally made, you will really know who your true believers are.
You have now built yourself some firm foundations, and are really serious about this, (which could be the best decision you ever make), now time to both safeguard it, and make it happen. 4. Explore the current market, understanding what is out there and what it looks like. Be bold, be different, don’t just do what everyone else is doing. If by now you have really built your idea, budgeted realistically for it and been challenged by people you know (love) and trust, then make your idea stand out from the rest. Be unique from the current market and well-priced, there will always be plenty of business to share if you do what you do well and passionately (which you will be doing if you have read this far).
Now down to the practical stuff, speak with an 5. Accountant and look into the right 6. Legal stuff. You don’t want to get caught up after day 1, having to rethink things. You want to be able to hit day 1 with vigour and no concerns hanging over you. An accountant can potentially help with the registration of your company, advice and guidance on setting up, a registered office, payroll accounts, bookkeeping and the submission of your accounts when year end comes. My accountant also fortunately put me in touch with several enterprises, governing bodies and agencies who have provided me with some of the right legal stuff (e.g Terms and Conditions, Cookie Policies, Data Protection etc.), most of which has been free where relevant.
All of the practical stuff is now out of the way and you are three quarters of the way there, you’ll be pleased to know it’s time for the real fun stuff and the building of your 7.Brand. Most 8.Website designers can also offer you branding as well as a website package. Go with what you believe in, be different, test it out for a few weeks, keep it on your phone and look at it regularly and see how it makes you feel, and if you are still passionate about it after this stage, confirm it really represents what you are trying to do. Personally, I feel that branding and website design are worth paying good money for. I guess the expression ‘if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys’, could be relevant here. Some designers can give you a comprehensive package for £200-£300, but remember your website could be the face of your business and you will definitely want to get it right when selling your brand and referring people to it.
You’ve now done most of the hardwork involved in the initial start-up, so set yourself up a solid 9. Workspace, where you can really focus, shut away from the daily distractions and crack on. If you’ve got to this point, you are clearly ready to 10. Take the plunge. However, make sure you do everything in your power to 11. Leave your current job well and honour any contractual agreements made with your employer. Not only is this better for both yours and your employer’s interests, it can really give your business every chance to succeed and you never know what partnerships may be formed at a later date with your current employer where appropriate.
12. Day 1 – today marks the day for me (4th December 2017) and I’ll post later on how it goes. Let’s see if my process mentioned in this BLOG works for me, wish me luck!