Category Archives: Business Ideas

Do I need a Business Partner?

Business Partners

Business Partners

 

There are few very successful solo entrepreneurs, even well known star entrepreneurs started with partners and having a Business Partner can bring enormous benefits:

 

 

 

  1. Combining key skills. One may be a great engineer, the other a talented marketer. Or there could just be parts of the business that need a specialist area of knowledge.
  2. Bringing in additional sources of funding. Whether it be as equal working partners or simply as a hands-off Investor.
  3. Sharing the workload. For one person to do everything, design the product / service, market, sell and deliver is tough.
  4. Sharing the stress. Having a partner to bounce ideas off and talk about issues can be the difference between success and failure in running a business.
  5. Motivate and encourage. There will be times that having a partner to help you drive the business forward, or to encourage deadlines being met is very helpful.

When taking on a Business Partner it’s best to put together a Business Partner agreement (see Business Partner Agreements ).

 

Is now the right time to start a business? (part 2)

Thinking of starting a businessGiven the turmoil and uncertainty we are going through, it is a valid question. However, change always brings opportunities and you need to consider your circumstances to determine if it is the right time for you:

1. For those made unemployed recently it is a perfect time. Starting your own business is a great alternative to working for someone else.

2. If in an existing job have you got financial commitments that require a steady income? Consider building up your own business at least in terms of planning and establishing potential customers while continuing to do paid work.  Move across as soon as can, don’t leave it too late or it won’t happen.

3. The times we are living through has caused many to re-evaluate what is important to them. Is chasing the dollar in an unenjoyable job what you want to do for the rest of your life? My son-in-law has just given up a well-paid corporate role, with company car, that he hated, to start a gardening company, that he loves.

Running your own business can give satisfaction and a sense of achievement that no other employment can match. You do need to do some planning, but there are resources out there that can help you, see: https://www.companypartners.com/content/resource

 

Adapting to market changes

Business openWith the COVID-19 lockdown easing as vaccination programmes become effective, business is returning to many sectors.

If you haven’t already, now is the time to reassess the way your business operates to take advantage of changing market conditions.

Customers will gravitate towards those businesses that have made it easy for them to buy, collect or simply use services and products.

As an example with the reopening of Pubs & restaurants outside spaces, my family booked to have a meal at a local Pub. They allowed booking through their website, but also answered phone calls, since many might be unsure of how the new procedures worked.

When there, the safety measures were clear and explained by a staff member, who was trained to be friendly and not overly bossy. The owner said they had spent 3 months when empty, building decking and a comfortable outside space. They were now gaining new customers that will continue over into the future.

Customers have had fear and caution engrained into them for 18 months now and that attitude is likely to remain for some time. Adapting your offerings, showing you have the customers protection and interests at heart in a welcoming way, can win you friends and ongoing clients.

Is now a good time to start a business?

Starting a businessAny time of change creates opportunities for new businesses. With the world moving the way it interacts, how it shops and desperate for safe entertainment there will undoubtedly be opportunities for the entrepreneur.

Additionally there are more people who may be in a position to start their own business, having been furloughed or having been made redundant from their employment. Now they may have the time at last to explore these new opportunities. (See Finding Opportunities from Market Changes)

Recent research by Virgin found that:

  • 69% of lockdown entrepreneurs agreed that lockdown gave them the push they needed to start a business
  • 73% of lockdown entrepreneurs said that lockdown has provided them with the perfect opportunity to focus on what they really want from their career
  • 51% of lockdown entrepreneurs agreed that they’d never thought about becoming an entrepreneur before lockdown
  • Flexibility is key for lockdown entrepreneurs. 95% of them said that being able to choose the hours they work is important and 92% said they wanted to spend more time with their family and loved ones
  • 73% of lockdown entrepreneurs are looking to balance profit with purpose and agree that it is important for businesses to do more than just make money

It can be difficult sometimes starting on your own with no one to bounce ideas off and help motivate each other, so do consider finding a potential Business Partner (see How to Choose a Business Partner). Helping to find a Business Partner is the reason we first set up Company Partners, much like a “dating site” for business ideas and people!

 

Does luck play a part in business success?

Business luckGiven that today is Friday the 13th I thought it interesting to look at the role luck plays in business success.

Firstly it would be wrong to say that luck, or being in the right place at the right time is non-existent – it does happen.  Think of those who bought property in places like London some time ago, never thinking that prices would sky-rocket.

Perhaps simply the luck of meeting just the partner, Investor or contact that you need at absolutely the right time for your fledgling business.

Even starting a new business whilst unbeknownst to you, significant market and trend changes mean that it suddenly becomes a roaring success

However, as the writer Nesta Jojoe Erskine has said, “You don’t get lucky while sitting in the sofa with arms crossed doing nothing. You can be lucky only when you are prepared.”

There is strong evidence that the more you put yourself “out there”, make as many contacts as you can and take positive action, the greater the likelihood of having luck find you.

I recently was reminded of the famous quote by Jack Nicklaus, “The more I practice, the luckier I get”, and the similar “The harder I work, the luckier I get” by Samuel Goldwyn.

Yes sometimes fortune smiles unexpectedly, but most successful people have not sat around waiting for that to happen, they have put themselves in a position through planning and endeavour to allow that lucky break to happen.

See also: Why Businesses don’t Get Started

 

What’s the most important thing in starting a business?

Most important for startups

Actually there are several inter-related aspects of starting a business that need to be worked on to ensure a successful startup, but I consider these to be the most important…

1. Start a business in a subject that you are interested in.

Running a new business is hard work, it becomes a little bit easier, if you at least enjoy or have some attraction to the service, products or activity that is at its centre.

2. Come up with a differentiation for your business from its competitors.

It may be a brand new idea or invention, perhaps a fresh twist on an old idea. The best are disrupters of established markets, such as Uber vs taxis or Airbnb vs hotel rooms.

3. Check your idea for a business is commercial.

It is said that ideas are 10 a penny and not every idea will actually be a commercial success. You must really look hard at whether someone will put their hand in their pocket and pay you money.

4. Get your numbers together.

Finance may not be everybody’s favourite subject, but even a simple listing of costs vs likely selling price will guide you in the viability of the business in the first place and in knowing how to set prices and what you can afford as an expense.

5. Finally, how you implement is key.

The best ideas badly implemented will fail, but even average startups stand a good chance if well implemented.

By implementation I mean think through your supply chain, how you will get your product or service to market, how will you let your potential customers know that you exist, what customer service you need to provide and ensure you have a cash flow that won’t run out before you get enough sales to start making a profit.

 

 

Could the “Experts” be right about Brexit?

Expert on financeIn an alarming development Britons are starting to wonder if the “so called experts” might have something going for them.

We’ve believed for years (well ever since Michael Gove revealed in his Brexit speeches that experts are always wrong) that people who have studied a subject for decades can’t be right.

Tony Simonds, retired Sales Executive said: “The so-called experts are always telling you things are bad for you, and it was only after my second heart attack that I thought their advice about not having deep-fried black pudding for breakfast is probably correct.

“They might be right about smoking too, so I’m going to look into that, although it flies in the face of lots of stories about people who smoked 80 Capstan a day and lived to 100.”

Store Manager Vicky Thompson said: “I’d always assumed experts just liked sounding important.

“However that advice about leaving a safe distance between you and the car in front turned out to be correct. I’ll definitely be telling my friends once the concussion’s worn off.”

The public is now grudgingly accepting that experts may have valid opinions on other subjects, such as patting tigers, swimming far out to sea and even the state of our economy after Brexit

However, Van driver Nick Baker said: “There’s only one sort of experts I trust and that’s UFO experts. Finding out all that highly classified government information takes a lot of work and you have to respect that.”

 

With acknowledgements to thedailymash

 

The Easiest Way to Sack your Boss!

Ideas to have your own businessVenturing out on your own can be a daunting task. Your nine to five brings with it a certain security net, however, the only way to achieve your dream is to take the leap and become your own boss!

In order to make sure that you are successful in this endeavour, though, it is important that you find the option that is right for you. Because, despite what you may think, there is more than one way to become a successful entrepreneur.

Below, we take a look at some of the simplest ways and give you tips on how to make sure that your journey to entrepreneurship is a positive one.

1.    Start a business from scratch

This is what most people will think of when they think about becoming an entrepreneur. There are a lot of risks involved in starting a business from a scratch, however, if you have an idea that you have confidence in and you are willing to put in the work, this is probably the best option for you.

The most difficult choice to make will be when to hand in your notice and throw yourself fully behind your idea. Many entrepreneurs try to keep their day job as long as possible in the beginning stages of their business so that they have a salary while they get their business off the ground.

You need to be realistic about your financial situation. How much will you need to start your own business and how long before you are realistically able to pay yourself a salary?

2.    Buy a business

Buying a business is another way to go about setting out on your own and being your own boss. The advantage of this is that you can see if the business has a proven track record.

This is very handy when you go to the bank to ask them for a loan. Proven financials will give far more of a chance of getting the money that you need to purchase the business.

For example, if you are looking to buy a pub, buying an existing one will come with an already established customer base and supplier relationships. You will just need to choose the right one to buy.

3.    Find a partner

Going into business can be made a lot easier if you’re able to find the right person to partner up with. Having a partner can double your resources in terms of skills and capital!

It is, however, vital that you find the right person to partner up with. The wrong partnership can turn sour so spend time making sure that you have the same goals and ideals.

4.    Find investors

The financial pressure of starting a business can be the single biggest reason to stop you sacking your boss. There are, however, a lot of financing options that are not necessarily the traditional routes of looking to banks for loans.

Why not look to angel investors to help you get your business going? If you have the right idea and you are willing to put in the time, there may be the right investor out there who will believe in your vision.

If you are able to carefully chose the right path to becoming your boss, there is every possibility that you can enjoy the process. Every future boss must find the option that is right for them and their circumstances. If you are able to do this, you’ll be on your way to success!

 

By Matthew Hernon: Account Manager at Dynamis looking after Business Transfer Agents and Franchises across BusinessesForSale.com and FranchiseSales.com

 

 

Finding business opportunities from market changes

Opportunity from market changeBusinesses are often wary of change. It creates uncertainty and development projects get stalled. Instead of seeing change as an opportunity, business leaders start to plan for worse case scenarios that may result from the change.

The businesses adversely affected are normally large organisations with a vested interest in the status quo, however for smaller more flexible businesses and certainly start-ups, these market changes can be a fantastic opportunity to grow.

There is always change, in reality nothing stays still, as the bones of once giant corporations will testify. In the past many have been caught out by technological or fashion trends, but now we also have global changes such as Brexit, migration and the fall out of Mr. Trump’s policies that will add to the melee.

So how do we go about spotting those changes that are likely to produce great opportunities?

1. One way is using Brainstorming -  Here are a few guidelines that should be useful, you can amend these as you wish, but it gives the method:

  • Basic technique – Using colleagues, or friends (5 to 12 is ideal, but if you are a one man start-up finding even just a couple of friends to help will get you going), jot down thoughts on a flipchart or post-it pad, no idea is initially too crazy and no one should be dominant.
  • However give it structure (see below), address a specific question and having a team leader will facilitate the process.
  • Firstly ask what changes are going on in the world / your market place
  • Have your brainstorming session on that question and then collate the results into groups that comprise similar changes
  • Looking at those groups of changes, rank the groups in order of possible interest, taking into account your market, business and ability/expertise to address
  • Now starting with the first change have a brainstorming session on the question “what will be the consequence or impact of that change to people, or the market”
  • Again collate and rank the results
  • Then ask the question “What opportunities will there be to these consequences of the change”

You will see that we are identifying changes and then delving deeper into the impact of change to discover opportunities that we can address.

2. You can also look at recent entries to your market, are these businesses addressing new opportunities that have arisen from change that you can expand on, or that may inspire you to think of similar opportunities.

3. Another way is to think about those established companies that are going through tough times – why – what is taking their custom?

In all of the identified changes, think about the basic strengths of your own business (or yourself if an entrepreneur looking for a potential business). What is your core knowledge / expertise? How can that be applied to creating an opportunity from the changes?

In every change there are going to be people that spot the opportunities and make a lot of money, think of when financial regulation of the stock market changed in London and the fortunes that were made, or how Russian entrepreneurs embraced new market conditions after communism fell.

You can be one of the people that do very well out of the changes happening today, but only if you take the time to spot the opportunities and then most importantly – act on it.

What should you do before leaving your corporate job and starting a business?

Starting a businessLet’s face it there are a lot of attractions to having a regular salary, perhaps expenses paid and some security. So why would anyone venture out on their own?

Yet every year thousands of people do exactly that.

Having previously been in large corporations myself for over 20 years I can sympathise with those that dream of controlling their own destiny but can’t put aside the golden chains. I eventually decided the benefits outweighed the risk and only regret not doing so earlier.

Certainly it is easier to take chances when younger and with fewer responsibilities, but with planning anyone can start a business at any age.

Now I’m not advocating that you short change your existing employer by using their time, however in your own time there are things you should do before making the plunge:

  1. Firstly don’t quit too soon and for the wrong reasons. You have cash coming in and can do a lot of pre-start-up work before losing that income. You may have to put up with a bad boss, or uninteresting work while getting the business you want ready.
  2. Put your business plan in place for your new business while still working for the company. I know it may be more enticing to just go and get started, but you can make the chances of it being a success by doing this now while someone else is paying you.
  3. Check and double-check that the market and sales are going to be there for your start-up. Just because you have a great idea doesn’t mean that it is a “commercial” business that will pay its way and deliver a profit. Do your market research see… How to do a sales plan
  4. Work out true costs and likely sales, don’t fool yourself with vague and woolly imaginings of how it will all come good somehow.
  5. Start making the contacts that you will need (suppliers, manufacturers, staff, potential customers). Clearly you will need to be sensible about this; word getting back to your present employer would not be helpful.
  6. If it is a business that does not compete with your existing employer, you may well be able to test its viability, learn what works and get initial sales that you would be able to build on, while still in employment. Working in the evenings, week-ends and on your time off is not easy but will help prove the concept and give you a rolling start.
  7. Think about your cash flow. Have you got enough resources to see you through the initial build-up of business, or have you identified immediate contracts / customers that will pay in a timely manner to cover your outgoings.

Lastly, if you have done all of that, thought it through and are ready, do it!

Many dream – few do.

See…Why Businesses don’t get Started