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10 top tips to consider before launching your own business

10 top tips to consider before launching your own business

If you’re at the point where you’re truly considering starting your own business, then WELL DONE. That’s a hurdle many would never even contemplate, which is a shame as there are so many benefits to being your own boss. (Check out these inspirational women who all do it exceptionally well.)

Before you take the plunge and dive deep into your new venture, we’ve collated 10 useful things for you to consider which we’ve gathered through years of experience of working with entrepreneurs across a range of sectors.

1. First and foremost: what is the problem that you are wanting to solve and how are you going to solve it? Consider whether your solution has commercial potential, and whether it’s something people will buy.

2. Why are you really doing this? Starting a business isn’t easy – it’s a very long and winding road. Make sure you’re ready to commit to this journey and you’re doing it for you.

3. Obtain Customer Validation. Go out and speak to your potential customers and have at least 100 conversations. Gather feedback from those who experience the ‘problem’ and find out their pain points. Discover whether you’re proposing something that’s both needed and wanted within industry. All this information will help shape your solution and determine how it will best fit into the current market. If you’re a staff member at The University of Manchester then the Innovation Optimiser monthly Ignition Award can help fund these types of activities.

4. Conduct plenty of desk research. We live in an age where almost anything we want to know is available at the tip of our fingers! Is anyone already doing what you want to do? How are you different? Who are your direct competitors? How much do they charge? Is their company successful? What is the market worth? You need to be going into this with an excellent understanding of the sector.

5. Who is your ideal customer? (Think customer, not user.) It’s easy to want everyone to be your customer, but it’s even easier to effectively push your product or service once you have established who your ideal customer is. Give them a name, an age, an occupation and interests. It’ll really help you focus when going to market.

6. Begin creating a Business Model Canvas (BMC). It’ll help you to visualise the concept of your proposal. Are you Research Staff at the University of Manchester? Then check out the ‘Researcher to Innovator’ (R2I) programme . It will support you to develop and refine this, as well as offer a range of other fantastic support opportunities including feasibility funding.

7. Put together a financial forecast for the next three years. Create three in total, with different but possible scenarios.

8. Network. Network. Network. There are dozens of different networking forums out there that are suitable for start-ups and SME’s, and many are invaluable when it comes to the support they provide. Whether it be advice, training opportunities or your first customer!

9. When thinking of a business name, it’s a good idea to ensure there’s a matching URL available. This is a pretty common mistake made by many entrepreneurs; don’t fall into the trap!

10. Last but certainly not least, build a strong support network around you. Many business experts will offer their time voluntarily if they can see the value in your idea. Find yourself a mentor – someone who will challenge you – to help you grow and enhance your entrepreneurial mindset.

If you’ve ticked off all these tips as you’ve gone through the list, then we imagine you’re just about ready! If you’re a staff member at The University of Manchester, be sure to make contact with UMIP to explore all support opportunities which may be available to you. For students, we highly recommend contacting the Masood Enterprise Centre.