I started my own business why don't you?

Approximately 15,000 new UK business ventures  are started each month, which goes to show that even in very tough economic times you can't keep the British entrepreneurial skills down.Unfortunately, starting a business from scratch is not easy and the reality is that over 50% of small businesses fail in the first year and 95% fail within the first five years.

I started my own business some 25 years ago and whilst currently we, like many others, are finding trading conditions very tough, we are still managing to make a living, albeit not quite as good as prior to the recession. My company is called Betterprint, a leading UK supplier of Business Cards and Matching Stationery, our website is www.betterprint.co.uk and it's through this that we gain a large part of our sales.

The statistics above are quite scary; in fact, I should think they're enough to put many people off trying to bring their ideas to the market place. I have listed below some of the main points that should be considered when embarking on a new business venture. This list is not exhaustive, it's just a few pointers which anyone thinking of starting their own venture should consider:

Marketing

Successful businesses are the ones that understand and meet the requirements of their customers, you should know how your product or service can benefit customers. If you can't explain this in plain simple language then you are not going to get off on the right foot, learn the basics of marketing. A good start is to decide on how you want your business to be visualised by potential customers and form a brand around that thought process. Some people think using the word "brand” for a small start up business is a bit over the top, I disagree; it does not have to be too elaborate or, for that matter, have cost you an arm and a leg. All it needs to do is consider all the aspects of how your company will be visualised by its customers, and then try to reflect your message in a professional manner - in simple terms make your business cards match your sign and any leaflets you have printed so there is a clear connection which will re-enforce your message in a positive way.

Ensure your marketing strategy sets you apart so a customer can clearly see why they should go to you before one of your competitors.

Cash flow

Many businesses find difficulties through poor cash flow management. You need to be able to survive for one to two years without income; often businesses take much longer than you would anticipate to start generating surplus cash. Do not underestimate the importance of cash flow!

Funding

Lack of sufficient start up finance often means that businesses are unable to take the opportunities available to them. Try to plan for all eventualities and give yourself a good margin for error (I would suggest at least 30%). Having sufficient funding can be the difference between moving in the right direction for your competitive advantage and having to compromise, which in some cases will be detrimental to your future success.

Make a business plan

A business plan should cover aspects such as marketing, finance, sales, as well as detailed calculations on costs and profit forecasts. It should be frequently updated to take account of changing circumstances and presented in a common sense, clear and easy to understand way - this will give it credibility with your financiers. If you need help preparing your business plan you can seek it from organisations such as Business Link, it will be worth investing in this plan. A good plan shows you have looked at all aspects of your chosen business, have a clear understanding of your direction and are prepared for problems as they arise.

Embrace new technologies

In a fast changing world the best businesses are those that embrace modern technologies in order to maximise their advantage.

Location, Location

Depending on the nature of your business, location could be vital to its success or failure. A good location is one that is convenient to your customers whilst at the same time minimises costs and has good communication access for your suppliers and staff.

Objectives

Any successful business will have clear and well communicated objectives enabling everyone in the business to pull in the same direction.

In my business www.betterprint.co.uk I have always used the above principals; hopefully you will find them of some use. No doubt as you embark on your business venture you are at the very least going to need some Business Cards and Betterprint have thousands of pre-templated designs for you to choose from, all printed on the very best 400gsm smooth silk art board at prices that are hard to beat - they won't let you down!

Good Luck 
DNB