insideKENT Magazine insideKENT Issue 69 Dec 2017 - Page 182

BUSINESS NEW YEAR, NEW PLANS: HOW TO START A BUSINESS FROM SCRATCH So, you’ve had your lightbulb moment and found a way to convert something you’re passionate about into a viable business , WHICH WORKS…IN THEORY. STATISTICS SUGGEST THAT ALTHOUGH OVER 500,000 NEW BUSINESSES GET STARTED EVERY MONTH, MORE BUSINESSES SHUT DOWN THAN START UP, BUT THIS ISN’T BECAUSE ALL OF THE IDEAS ARE TERRIBLE, IT’S MORE TO DO WITH THE FEAR FACTOR THAT SETS IN AS SOON AS WE ALL START WONDERING HOW ON EARTH TO CONVERT OUR IDEAS INTO REALITY. THERE ARE NO HARD AND FAST RULES ABOUT HOW TO START A BUSINESS, BUT IF YOU DON’T TRY YOU’LL NEVER KNOW AND THERE’S NO BETTER TIME TO TRY THAN AT THE START OF A BRAND NEW YEAR. THESE POINTERS SHOULD HELP SET YOU OFF IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. BY POLLY HUMPHRIS TEST YOUR IDEA “If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?” The words of Albert Einstein, and a quote that should become your mantra when beginning your brand new business journey – testing your initial idea through research is essential; it’ll help you shape your business plan and fine tune how and who you plan to target, as well as help to clarify points on pricing. The internet and social media are hugely effective tools when it comes to determining trends and garnering opinions, but don’t underestimate the impact and importance of field research: speaking to your potential customers directly and testing your idea 182 personally. Surveying, focus groups and face- to-face interviews are all areas you should look further into. PICK THE PERFECT NAME Remember when ‘Jif’ changed to ‘Cif’? Uproar. it is absolutely essential to think long and hard about the name of your business or product, so that it resonates with as many of your potential customers as possible and not just you. Your business name, which will become your branding, shouldn’t just be memorable therefore, or simply sound good when you say it out loud, it also has to be recognisable, uncomplicated, easily associable with what your business does, and be able to be visually represented for t he purposes of your logo. You should definitely like saying it, like hearing it and like looking at it, but it’s important not to make it too personal, or long winded – make it snappy and inject some humour if that’s relevant. CHOOSE THE RIGHT STRUCTURE Sole trader, limited company, LLP or partnership? Gulp. There’s a fair few ways to structure your new business depending on how the decisions you make down the line will affect its growth. If you’re not planning on employing anyone except you then you’re likely best off as a sole trader, but that does mean that any business debt will be met from