Start with the basics – a quick guide to launching a startup

Credit: Vision Creation
Credit: Vision Creation

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In 2012, more than 484,000 businesses were started in the UK. On average, only around one fifth of these will succeed. The difficulty of launching is often overlooked by eager entrepreneurs with an eye on the Fortune 500 and little experience in the field. For the business newbie, the key to success is preparation – as the following tips demonstrate.

Gauge commitment

Your commitment to the business is essential. Anything less than 100% will likely see the business fold when things get tough. If you don’t love what you’re doing then you can’t really expect anyone else to. Your job is to bring the company to life, and it is your perseverance and dedication that will encourage investors and employees to join you.

Identify a target market

No business will prosper if there’s no one interested in its products or services. Working out exactly who you’re going to sell to makes life a lot easier – whether it’s designing product packaging or deciding on pricing.

Be realistic

Start-ups require both time and money. Be realistic about how much of each you have access to.

Think about the long-term development of your business and don’t start a ball rolling that you cannot stop. For example, those who are holding down a day job while setting up their business shouldn’t enthusiastically ask customers to ‘get in touch!’ when they can’t answer the phone or emails between 9 and 5.

Credit: Dell Think Tank
Credit: Dell Think Tank

Use your resources wisely

By their nature, start-ups try to make something big using as little as possible. Make savings wherever you can by utilising the numerous free resources available to entrepreneurs. Don’t be afraid to enlist the help of friends and family – after all, many hands make light work.

Browse the internet for entrepreneurship portals, such as the Entrepreneur Handbook, which provide a useful collection of links to funding possibilities and advice.

Companies such as Moonfruit, offer those with limited web skills the chance to build professional-looking websites for free.

If you want to find out about what Moonfruit can do, click here to see more.

Let people know you exist

Advertising is essential to growing a business. Word of mouth is great, but only really kicks in once the business is established. Internet advertising via social media is the cheapest and most efficient option for the start-up.

Sites such as Twitter and Facebook are a great way to get people talking about your business. The offer of ‘free stuff’ tends to help, as does the offer of discounts.