Launching a start-up business is about a lot more than having a great idea and jumping into the start-up pond. Prepare carefully and you will be faster out of the starting blocks.
First, begin by testing out your business idea and work through a concise plan. These stages help you judge what it takes to make and keep your start-up sustainable. A green light on this is thrilling – but it’s not yet time to leave your job.
Use your salary to fund you while organising the business nitty-gritty, whether you are staying up late to get it done or finding gaps in your lunch hour. Break down business goals into smaller, easier-to-achieve tasks.
1. Business essentials
Before you leave your present job, register your company and open your business bank account. These admin tasks can take time. Get them out of the way so you can concentrate on your product and your marketing when you launch your start-up.
2. Online admin
Set up your company email address. Remember that using a domain address for your business looks more professional and credible to your potential clients – consider using Office365 as a low-cost option to have a professional domain name and email address.
Look at Google Business Suite for cloud storage to store your company’s documentation. Investigate other online tools you may need such as accounting software. Sign up only when you absolutely need to start using these tools so you do not pay fees unnecessarily.
3. Find your customers
If you followed the tips in our first article, you should already have developed a profile of your ideal customer. Now it’s time to get real and specific. Identify potential customers that you could reach out to and draw up a list of their contact details.
4. Branding and marketing
You need to develop a short business profile and also the digital face of your brand, your website, so these are ready to go live when you leave your job to launch your start-up.
To make sure that your message is clear and communicates exactly what you are selling, ask friends and family for objective opinions. Better still, try making an actual sale and observe positive and negative responses.
Create your logo, keeping it minimal and clear so that it stands out and is not expensive to print on different media e.g. T-shirt or banner.
Remember that it must be recognisable at all sizes, including thumbnail sizes on your business cards, e-stationery and as the basis of your email signature.
5. Save up to start up
Leaving a job to launch a start-up is always risky so make sure you have a financial safety net, ideally six to 12 months’ income saved. This should be medium-term savings and preferably not mean dipping into your pension fund.
6. Cut your personal expenses to the bone
It always takes longer than you think to launch a business – having enough money to keeping going is important and successful entrepreneurs understand when to make sacrifices.
Create a spreadsheet with all your monthly expenses to decide what to sacrifice to reduce financial stress:
- Are you using your gym membership?
- How much do you eat out?
- How often do you buy takeaways – even those cappuccinos add up!
- Check what you spend on weekend entertainment.
7. Set your departure goals
Don’t let yourself be trapped in the planning phase for too long, waiting for a perfect time to launch. If it is possible to start your business as a side-hustle, do so, but not all jobs allow this.
That perfect launch time never comes so make sure you take the leap out of secure employment by setting a date to leave your job and start your business full time.