You might be toying with the idea of setting up your own business, or have already taken the leap and set up on your own – congratulations! The professional services sector is a popular industry for start-ups with a varied range of consultants and specialised business services providers.
Read our top tips on how to set the best foundation for a successful business:
- Pick and define your business niche
You will need a clear idea of what solution your business is going to provide and which of your future customers’ pain points you can solve. Do you have a specific skill set combined with relevant experience that other people would be willing to pay for? Identify your core service and consider potential complementary services that you or business partners could provide to enhance your offering. Define what you as a company and individual stand for.
- Research and refine your ideal customer
Once you have identified your company ethos and service proposition, put some time aside to do extensive research into your ideal customer as well as the environment they operate in. How many other companies are there who offer the same or a similar service that you will need to compete with? What sets you apart? Are there government initiatives or other external factors that would aid or obstruct your efforts?
- Have a financial back up plan
It is likely that you may not earn much in the early days. You may have chosen to stay in part-time employment whilst you work on setting up your own business, in which case the financial risk is manageable. If you have decided to leave your current job and run your business full-time, you will need a financial back up plan as it takes time to set up a successful and profitable business. Do you have any savings, or would family and friends be able to lend a helping hand if the business doesn’t take off as planned?
- Surround yourself with like-minded people
Make sure your family and close friends are on board with the idea and will be able to support you if the going gets tough. Join local start up initiatives, engage in dialogue with other businesses in a similar situation and be prepared to take their advice, or at least consider their point of view. Think about partnerships with other companies who may be able to refer business to you and be pro-active in asking for recommendations and making new connections.
- Be adaptable
The business environment is ever changing and only those business owners who can adapt will be able to run a successful business in the long term. There will be a whole range of skills you may need to learn in order to run a business, such as bookkeeping, HR, IT and/or sales, until you are in a position to employ staff or outsource to specialist providers. You may need to tweak or expand your service offering to fulfil your customers’ needs so encourage open dialogue with your customers and keep an open mind.
- Have a marketing strategy
Plan and write down how you are going to launch the business and market it to your identified customer base over the next 12 months. Set specific objectives of what you want to achieve and work out how you are planning to achieve them. If you would like some help with this, we would love to help.
Consortium Business Solutions was established in 2013 by Lara Squires and offers marketing and business development solutions to the professional services sector. Now consisting of five staff members, the team provide marketing support through traditional and digital channels, alongside social media consultancy services and event organisation.
You may also be interested to read Lara’s personal account of having set up her own business in this blog post ‘5 lessons I’ve learnt setting up my own business’