10 points to help business start up

Below is a simple 10 point checklist which you should consider before starting your business. To make it more interesting try and answer these points by giving yourself a score for each question – 0=Don’t know and 5=Great.

1. How is it different?
Your underlying business idea doesn’t need to be original, but you need to establish unique selling points (USPs) if you want people to buy from you rather than your competitors. You have to offer something new. Is your proposition solving a problem? Are you filling a gap in the market, or building on an existing offering?

Don't be a fish out of water - do some business planning.
Don’t be a fish out of water – do some business planning.

2. Is there a market, and is it big enough?

Thorough market research is needed before moving forward with your business idea. You need to ensure there will be sufficient – and sustainable – demand to support your business and enable it to thrive.

3. What’s the business model?
How will you charge your customers, and what for? Can you think of additional revenue streams? Research is vital to determine whether your business model is viable; this should include analysis of how your competitors have structured their businesses.

4. Is the price right?
It’s no good having a winning product or service if your customers can’t afford it, but you need a decent margin for a sustainable business. Talk to your potential customers to find out whether your pricing is feasible.

5. What will stop others from copying you?
If you’ve ever watched Dragons’ Den you’ll have heard no doubt heard this question: ‘What’s to stop a big company coming along and stealing your idea?’ Have strong USPs – such as exceptional customer service – and wherever you can protect your intellectual property.

6. Do you know your customer?
Arm yourself with as much information as you possibly can about your target customer, and listen to them at every opportunity. What does a typical customer look like? How do they behave? What do they most value from a product or service like yours? Where can you find them? What marketing methods do they respond to?

7. Can you turn a profit?
How much will it cost to produce your idea? (taking into account manufacturing or supplier costs; salaries; overheads; office equipment, etc)? How much can you sell your product or service for, and how much do you need to sell to not only cover your costs, but make a profit? Is this achievable?

Set your own path through careful planning.
Set your own path through careful planning.

8. Do you have sufficient funding to get the venture off the ground?
You need enough cash to support yourself and your business until it becomes sustainable. If you don’t have the funding in place, can you raise it?

9. Do you have the necessary experience, attitude and skills to pull it off?
Even if you have the best idea in the world, without the passion, drive and commitment to see it through, it still stands a good chance of failing.

10. Is there scope for growth?
Can you expand on your idea in the future by adding new products or services, entering new locations, or improving your original proposition?

OK add up your total score, and how did you do?

If you scored under 20 you need to do a lot more work before you are ready, if you scored 21 – 35 then you are on the right track, but need to look at few pointers before getting started, if you scored 36 or more then well done, what stopping you – get on with your plans!

If you want to stimulate new business, get better ratings with search engines, improve your search engine optimisation skills,  then make contact – drop me a line  – A little help can go a long way!

A 7 step – 1 day marketing plan

Yes it is possible to develop a marketing plan in 1 day.  Working with  The National Centre for Micro Business we have developed a 7 step plan …

Sometimes being over protected can hold you back.
Sometimes being over protected can hold you back.

Step 1 – Understand your market and competition

Step 2 – Understand your customer

Step 3 – Pick a niche

Step 4 – Develop your marketing message

Step 5 – Determine your marketing media

Step 6 – Set sales and marketing goals

Goals are critical to your success. A ‘wish’ is a goal that hasn’t been written down.If you haven’t written down your goals, you’re still just wishing for success. When creating your goals use the smart formula. Ensure that your goals are:

  • Sensible
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-specific

Your goals should include financial details, such as annual sales revenue, gross profit, sales per salesperson, and so on. Your goals should also include non-financial elements such as units sold, contracts signed, clients acquired, and articles published.

Step 7 – Develop your marketing budget

 

General Hints and tips – for more help contact The National Centre for Micro Business

  • Market research will form a major part of your business and marketing plans, so keep your research to refer back to when you are developing your plans in the future.
  • Make time to do your research properly. It’s one of the most important things you will need to do, and getting the right information now will help avoid problems later.
  • Be realistic with your research findings, and be sensible with your assumptions and market predictions.
  • Be careful when asking friends or family for their input as potential customers; they may want to encourage or discourage you unduly, so might offer biased views.
  • If you use a market research agency, ensure that they are members of a reputable trade association. The Market Research Society provides information about research agencies and consultants in its ‘Research Buyer’s Guide’. (www.rbg.org.uk). Consult this guide to find out about reputable and experienced agencies and consultants.
  • Trade magazines or journals can provide useful market information so it may be worth taking out a subscription. If you’re just after a particular piece of information try your city or central library as it may keep back issues.
  • Trade associations can also provide useful research and statistics although you will usually need to be a member.
  • Several national newspapers have dedicated supplements for particular industries on a specific day each week.
  • Before you spend any money check your local central library as it will often have access to a wealth of business information.  (Ask a librarian).
  • If you’re doing a questionnaire, limit the number of questions – as too many questions may affect the response rate. Ensure that the meaning of the questions is easily understood.
  • If postal questionnaires are used, it is a good idea to give the respondent an incentive to return it – for example, a prize draw or a chance to influence product design. A return rate of 10% of the questionnaires mailed is good.

If you want to stimulate new business, get better ratings with search engines, improve your search engine optimisation skills,  then make contact – drop me a line  – A little help can go a long way!

Venice

Looking along the Venice waterfront

Just come back from a really good break in Venice.  Needed some time to recharge the batteries!!

Very interesting to compare the marketing of such a venue, against UK tourist attractions – London, Kent, Yorkshire etc..  Venice has a definite sense of where it is coming from, and consequently all the marketing draws you further in to enjoy the atmosphere. If you get the chance to go it’s well worth it.  The BA flight was a tribute to how transport should be.

Looking out from St Marks Square

Once in Venice look up Brek ristorante, with its free wifi, and sensibly priced food. Eating out in Venice can be very pricey. What a good example for a restaurant web site .. and I used to own a restaurant!   Find it Here

If you want to stimulate new business, get better ratings with search engines, improve your search engine optimisation skills,  then make contact – drop me a line  – A little help can go a long way!

Welcome to Owl Communications and Training

Having spent many years teaching in secondary, tertiary, adult and higher education – and finding time to run my own businesses, I have decided to go it alone and try and pass on some of the knowledge I have gained to help businesses create more custom and grow.

Many of us have thought, “I need a website,” created one – and then think, “Job done,” and sit back and wait.  WRONG!  To make any web presence work takes time and effort.   To get customers to pick you out from the crowd and then beat a path to your products or services takes effort and know how.

If you want to stimulate new business, get better ratings with search engines, improve your search engine optimisation skills,  then make contact – drop me a line  – A little help can go a long way!