start a business

How to Start a Business in 2018

New Year, new you, new business venture? Go for it! There’s never been a better time to follow your dreams and kickstart a successful business than today, as the sooner you get the ball rolling, the sooner you’ll be able to reap the rewards.

Of course, launching a new business of your own can seem like a daunting prospect, especially for those with little or no experience in the sector in which they want to make their mark. Here’s a quick rundown of some basic steps you should take in order to make your entrepreneurial endeavours a success in 2018.

Draw up a business plan

First things first –do your homework. Put pen to paper and create a comprehensive outline of what your business will offer its customers, which demographic that target market comprises and who will be behind the wheel.

You’ll also need to analyse the current competition in the marketplace and identify unique selling points (USPs) which set your enterprise apart. Furthermore, you should make an estimation of how much capital you’ll need to get things off the ground and your overheads for the first few years. Those with limited experience in their chosen market may want to seek support from a savvy mentor here, since getting your sums right is all-important for the next step.

Get funding

Unless you have a sizable amount of capital to play with from the get-go, you’re almost definitely going to need some financial backing to get your project started. Your detailed business plan will prove invaluable here; convincing a bank or building society to invest in your potential is so much easier if you can prove you know what you’re doing and you’re equipped to succeed.

On the other hand, even the best prepared business plan might be given the red light by banks in the current economic climate. If that happens to you, don’t despair: non-banking loans are more popular than ever before and there are a range of alternative finance options to consider. The rise and rise of peer to peer funding and crowdfunding open up investment to a small group rather than a centralised bank, for example.

Craft an attractive online presence

Whether you plan to open a five-star restaurant or a web design company, you’re going to need an online presence to attract attention and establish credibility. In this modern age, if people can’t Google your business and access a webpage dedicated to its products and services, they’re not going to spend a single second before moving on to the most convenient competitor.

Devote time and resources to creating a user-friendly and aesthetically-pleasing website which will dazzle all comers and turn prospects into customers. This may take significant time, energy and money initially, but it’ll be worth its weight in gold once you’re up and running. The smallest enterprise in the industry can be successful operating out of a bedroom or garage – but not if it doesn’t have a corner of cyberspace to call its own.

Push the button!

Once you’ve laid the groundwork and your project is ready to launch, go for it! Just be mindful to avoid resting on your laurels and taking your foot off the accelerator – you’ll need to be constantly monitoring your performing and looking for new ways to grow your business if it is to truly flourish. Put in the hard yards, however, and the rewards will come rolling in.