engage magazine issue 002 \\\\\\\'06 - Page 40

40 INTERVIEW New Start–ups What advice or tips would you give to someone who is in the process of starting up a business? Claudia – Researching your market is absolutely vital. Buy your competitors’ products or use their service and really be objective about your point of difference, be it price, quality or the service. Be really hard on yourself and take every opportunity to test your product or service on people before you open for business. Don’t rely on family or friends to give you objective feedback – they love you so often will tell you what you want to hear. Always put yourself in the shoes of the consumer or recipient of your service or product. Many people make the mistake of ploughing tens of thousands of pounds into a business without seeing the bigger picture or longer term plan. Don’t be tempted. Be frugal with money but balance that with being prepared to spend on the things that really matter. A lot of black businesses fall down in the way their product or service is packaged – the way it looks and feels. The end–user is a visual person. Be prepared for the knock–backs. They will inevitably happen but if you really believe in yourself, the knock–backs will help you develop a stronger proposition. Many people don’t realise how much setting up a business can consume you. I certainly didn’t realise how consuming it would be and it’s hard to let go or to relax. I eat and sleep my business every day, 7–days–a–week. Even on holiday, I’m worrying about what’s happening. If you don’t have a supportive network of family or friends around you who understand why you are not always available to them, then that can take a toll. Marlene and Nicola – Starting your own business is not for the faint–hearted, but the rewards and self–satisfaction of developing and watching your dreams become reality is gratifying beyond compare. We believe that it is better to have tried and failed, than to live in regret because you never tried. Look at the risks, but don’t let fear stop you moving forward, embrace the fear and keep moving forward. One day at a time one obstacle at a time. Jenni – Feel the fear – and do it anyway. Do your research: define your product, identify your market, check out the competition and build a marketing plan into your business proposal. Very few businesses succeed just by word of mouth. If you fail to plan – then you most certainly plan to fail. Perle Noire – www.perlenoire.co.uk Tel: 07961 323313 or email: info@perlenoire.co.uk B.N.Bags – www.bnbags.com Tel: 07956 881 130 or 07949 238 455 or email: sales@bnbags.com The A.M.A. Consultancy – www.theamaconsultancy.com Tel: 020 7419 5696 or email: info@theamaconsultancy.com Is your business less than five years old? If you would like you and your business to be featured in the ‘New Start–ups’ section, drop an email to Engage’s Business Editor, Colette Machado, at colette@ engagemagazine.co.uk giving a brief description of the nature of your business including contact details. Note: Submissions can only be featured following the approval of the Business Editor engage ISSUE TWO 2006