Starting a business could be the best thing you ever did - get start up ready by answering these questions,
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What if starting a business is the best thing you ever did?

Workplace
Author since:
October, 2015
99 blog posts

Starting a business is many peoples  dream.  It is one of those things that from the outside in looks amazing but is it for everyone and is it all it is cracked up to be?

We talked to many people about their experiences of starting a business and came up with a quick 10 questions you need to answer as a check list to work out if it is for you.

If I build a business, they will come

  1. There is an old saying “build it and they will come” however in reality this is not strictly true when starting a business.  It takes much more than an idea and a business to make a living.  Don’t just believe that if you love it others will.  Investigate and interrogate if there are enough people with money who are in enough pain to pay for what you do.

Am I entering a growing market

 

 

  1. Is the market for what you do growing or is what you do disruptive enough to take the market? Having the internet at our fingertips gives as wealth of information and data.  Look for it, read it and digest it to know where you can go to grow.

What does my competition look like

  1. What is the competition like for your business? It always amazes me when  you see a new coffee shop open when you can see 3 other coffee shops from the front door.  I never understand why you would not go and find a space less crowded.  It is important that your market is not too crowded for you to shine above the rest and get sales.

What are the cost of starting a business

  1. What are the costs associated with your product? Have you got a full understanding of your  costs and made sure that you are aware of anything that might cause extra cost?  If you need a premises, business rates are always one that can hit hard as every area is different and it is often an unknown. Does what you are selling need after sales or service – is that easy to provide?  Do you need protections, insurance, patents etc as these are all costs.  If you are employing people exactly what are the costs in terms of salaries, tax, pensions etc.

Who will I need to recruit?

 

  1. Do you need to recruit a team? What is the market like for staff, what can you afford. How do you feel about being let down and starting again?  This part is one of the hardest areas of starting up a business.  You will never employ anyone as passionate and dedicated as you.  People may not be what you thought, they may let you down, leave or you may have to ask them to leave.  Are you ready and strong enough for this.  What is your back up plan if you can’t find the right team or when you are let down at the last minute.

Structure a good business plan when starting a business

  1. Have you developed a structured business plan? Anyone can forecast sales, it is often what you wish for rather than what you get.  Put all the costs in and work out what you need rather than what you want.  Then sensitise
  2. this – what happens if sales ore down by 20%, what happens if costs are up by 20%. How will your business perform when things are not going to plan.  What will you do about this and can you survive these kinds of business shifts.

The buck starts and stops with you

 

  1. When you are in it on your own, the buck stops with you. In every part from sales, accounts, HR it is all you at the beginning.  Do you have the stamina and perseverance to do all this and make it through.  Contributing factors aside, most start ups fail because they just give up and run out of steam.  You will hit set backs and rejections a lot – can you handle it and keep going.  It is so much easier to just earn a wage from someone else – you only earn a wage if what you do pays off.  Can you handle the truth?

Start with the Why

  1. Why are you wanting to start a business? If it is because you are fed up of your job, overworked and stressed then it maybe is not the solution.  The best entrepreneurs are people who are successful in their job but feel unsatisfied or bored.  The grass is rarely greener at the beginning.  It is better not to give up the day job until you have some revenue from your new venture.

Hope that these questions have left you excited and not down hearted.  It is so much better to makes sure that you have frightened yourself a bit and come back still wanting.  It will work if you have lots of perseverance and are open and to change and adapt what you are doing to make a success.

What if.. it all work out?

All of this and most things you read giving advice about starting a business will get you to look at the “what ifs” in a negative way.  What if, sales are down, what if costs are up and many other what ifs in a negative way.  The most important thing is actually to look at “what if” it all goes well, and it is a success.  In your planning stage at the end of every day take time to visualise what it looks like when this works out as you planned if not better.  As Stephen Covey taught us many years ago – begin with the end on mind.

 

Workplace is a 5 star coworking and serviced office company in Manchester and is perfectly positioned on Oxford Street, close to Oxford Road Station and only 10 minutes walk from Piccadilly Station.  It has easy access with the tram system in Manchester being only a few steps from  Albert Square.  Full Google Directions and Location

Workplace Manchester offers great flexibility with  day desk hire, coworking, reserved desks, offices and meeting space.

Up Next

Customer Reviews - are they worth the time and effort?

Workplace
Author since:
October, 2015
99 blog posts

We are bombard with customer review requests.

Customer reviews are shown on everything we do.  It seems like every time you make a purchase be it for a bag of potatoes or a new car you are immediately asked for a customer review.  We are bombarded with requests for feedback and customer reviews for products and services daily.   Giving a customer review does little for the customer unless it is to vent when something is not right.  Do they seriously do enough for a small business to commit the time to chasing these hopefully kind words.   Why would or should you give your time to leave a review if you have no idea what the value it or why.

There are many contradictory stories out there about how many people leave customer reviews and the effectiveness of them.  It seems that 57% is regularly quoted as the figure for people who read and follow the feedback from reviews.  A straw poll around the office seems to say this figure could be much higher.  The interaction with your customers and what they say, even though we don’t personally know these people is   the new word of mouth.  These are the social media friends who are telling us “this is good “– it is the social media take-over of word of mouth.

It is established that as a consumer we take note of customer reviews. If you are looking to make a purchase and out of three possibilities one had 1300, 5-star reviews against something that had less reviews and maybe poor reviews it pushes us to make the purchase so increases direct sales.  It is not always easy to encourage people to leave a review so are there other benefits?

If you are going to take reviews of your products or service seriously there are three major steps within the online review timeline.  You need to take all three of these seriously and it is a time commitment to ensure the reviews work for you.

 

  • Asking customers to leave them,
  • Monitoring the reviews that come in
  • Responding to the customers who leave them, both positive and negative.

 

In order to understand why these investments are necessary, here are a few reasons why online reviews are so important.

Customer Reviews Build Credibility

This is all about building trust, we want to have some certainty that our purchase will be a success.  Reading reviews helps to build this trust (or not if they are poor reviews) Having our computers in our hands in the form of a phone, consumer research is easy and immediate. As mentioned above, most people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Consumers turn to review sites to gain a better understanding of a business, so the more positive reviews you have, the better. These positive reviews will help instil trust within your business, they tell you story, and consumers believe them.

Customer Reviews Help Your search engine ranking

In order to appear in online searches, your business needs to have good SEO (search engine optimization). Online reviews play a big role in SEO, as reviews can influence where a business falls within search rankings. Google, for instance, gathers review information from many sites when determining where a business will fall in search results. Google also reward interaction with websites so a review being left and then responded to gets a big tick in the SEO box.

 

Customer Reviews Help Connect you with Your Customers

To stand out against competitors within your local community, it’s important to find interesting ways to connect with your customers. Reviews provide an avenue for doing just that. When a customer leaves a review, you can take the time to respond and thank them for taking the time to do so. This will also provide credibility to others who read the reviews and see your responses.

You can also learn about issues that you didn’t know existed this way. For instance, a customer might leave a comment regarding an issue they came across. You can then provide them with a solution to their problem, and hopefully turn that negative comment into a positive one.

Small businesses should embrace the power of positive online reviews. They can help customers learn more about your business so that in the future, they turn to you when they’re ready to learn more and possibly make a purchase.

 

As a consumer, if you care about the business always leave a review.  It is a tough world out there when you are in business on your own.  Marketing and promotion can be very expensive.   Reviews are no always the answer as they are not always good.   The best advice is to make sure that what you offer is the best it can be, learn from your reviews, make sure you respond to them all and use them to power up your sales process.

 

Workplace is a 5 star coworking and serviced office company in Manchester and is perfectly positioned on Oxford Street, close to Oxford Road Station and only 10 minutes walk from Piccadilly Station.  It has easy access with the tram system in Manchester being only a few steps from  Albert Square.  Full Google Directions and Location

Workplace Manchester offers great flexibility with  day desk hire, coworking, reserved desks, offices and meeting space.

 

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