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10 tips for start ups that are actually useful

The Striding Out Business Awards, now in its 6th year, helps young entrepreneurs aged 18-30 take the ‘big leap’ into self-employment! Four lucky and hard-working winners receive a start up grant and business support package from Striding Out.

Written By:
Paul Wright
Category:
Business
  • 10/07/2012
  • 5 Mins to Read
  • By: Paul Wright
  • Share

Don’t Have Much Time?

We’ve condensed this blog down for all of the people with not a lot of time:

GET A SUMMARY

1. Don’t put your eggs all in one basket
2. Know your enemy!
3. Don’t be afraid to fire clients or associates
4. Immerse yourself in your market sector
5. Watch your cash flow
6. Get your personality across in your marketing materials
7. Do what you do best!
8. Collaborate
9. Learn to say sorry!
10. Enjoy what you do

The Striding Out Business Awards, now in its 6th year, helps young entrepreneurs aged 18-30 take the ‘big leap’ into self-employment! Four lucky and hard-working winners receive a start up grant and business support package from Striding Out.

www.stridingout.co.uk

I was asked to announce the overall winner (Ruth Ferguson and her luxury swimwear business, Olga Olsson) and to talk about Rubber Cheese’s journey, having started a business at the young age of 23. Instead of talking about myself I felt it would probably be more useful if I summarised my business learnings into 10 Top Tips. 
I could have made this more like 50 but I didn’t have all night!

Here are my Top 10 Tips for running a small business:

Written By:
Paul Wright
Creative Director

1. Don’t put your eggs all in one basket

Sooner or later a small business will quite likely win a big contract which is excellent, but can also put a business in a dangerous position. If you expand your resources to deal with a larger client (by taking on more staff for example) and focus all your time and effort on that client, you may eventually find yourself in a bad situation. If that client suddenly no longer uses your services you could be left with a big void and larger over heads which can be devastating for any business, large or small.

2. Know your enemy!

Get to know your competitors. Find out who they are and what they’re doing. There is an old saying: “keep your friends close and your enemies even closer!”. Ok we’re exaggerating a little but if you can keep in the loop with your competitors you may find you can collaborate on projects or they may be able to pass work your way. Knowing what they are doing can also put you one step ahead of the game!

 

3. Don’t be afraid to fire clients or associates

If you have a client that pays late, always cuts you down on price, takes to much of your time and never appreciates what you do for them, then it’s probably worth telling them that your working relationship isn’t working for you. It’s not the type of business that anyone wants, so why should you put up with it?

4. Immerse yourself in your market sector

To be successful in your chosen market sector you need gain as much knowledge about it as possible. This can be a daunting task as things move and change so quickly. The best way to do this is by letting the information flow to you.

This is how:

  • Follow market leaders on Twitter – see what/who they are talking about
  • Sign up for specialist website’s newsletters
  • Use RSS feeds 
Subscribe to industry magazines

5. Watch your cash flow

Always invoice quickly once a job is finished, don’t wait till the end of the month.

Try to use a 3rd party for chasing payments. If you’ve built a good relationship with a client the last thing you want to do is start chasing them for money if they’ve paid a bit late. It could be a family member like your Mum for instance. If they have no existing relationship with the client then this makes things much easier for both of you.

 

Always invoice quickly once a job is finished, don’t wait till the end of the month.

6. Get your personality across in your marketing materials

Get your message right and tie-in your personality within that message. Personality builds emotional engagement with your clients. Make sure you are consistent and persistent with that message in everything you do including emails, business cards, websites, brochures and even the way that you answer the phone.

7. Do what you do best!

Find your niche market and become the best at it. If you try and be the best at everything you’ll dilute your offering and your clients will suffer because of it.

 

8. Collaborate

Collaborate with other businesses that offer something that compliments your products or services. This will make you much more desirable to your clients. You should only collaborate with businesses that have the same values and standards as your business – make sure this is right from the start.

9. Learn to say sorry!

We are all human and humans make mistakes. So when you do make a mistake and it effects your client, apologise and rectify what you did wrong, by putting it right, with no fuss and as quickly as possible. Go that extra mile to make it right. If you do you are likely to have a client forever.

10. Enjoy what you do

Most of us will work for 8+ hours a day, 5+ days a week. That is a huge chunk of your life. So why not enjoy it!? A good and happy working environment is likely to be more productive and proactive.

When it comes to employing people to work in your team, make sure they are good at what they do and you like them, especially if you work in a small team as one bad apple can ruin the whole cart!

A good and happy working environment is likely to be more productive and proactive.

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