Little Black Business Books - Setting Up and Growing Your Business
eBook - ePub

Little Black Business Books - Setting Up and Growing Your Business

A guide to creating and running a successful business

Marilyn Messik

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  1. 25 pages
  2. English
  3. ePUB (mobile friendly)
  4. Available on iOS & Android
eBook - ePub

Little Black Business Books - Setting Up and Growing Your Business

A guide to creating and running a successful business

Marilyn Messik

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About This Book

Little Black Books offer a feet-on-the-ground, pared down, common sense, no holds barred and hopefully constructive take on the things that can make your business soar or sour! You will find them full of:- Practical steps and suggestions- Ideas and initiatives- Inspiration and incentives- Suggestions to help you prioritise and get you thinking- Reasons for trusting your own common sense and business instincts.They'll also show that whilst there's no short-cut to success, sometimes you find it in the most unexpected places by just looking at things from unusual angles.

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Chapter 1


It’s all well and good to talk about setting up and growing a business but there are businesses and then there are businesses and so there should be. But whilst they come in all shapes, sizes and types and are (theoretically) heading in the identical direction, i.e. making a profit, not all of them need – or indeed should – go about it quite the same way. NB: it should be noted here that if you’re not making some sort of profit after a certain period of time, then you’re not running a business so much as pursuing a hobby!

Where has your business come from?

Businesses grow from all sorts of unlikely seeds. Where’s yours come from? Did it spring fully-fledged from a light bulb moment? An instant of blinding revelation when you suddenly realised that in this commercially crowded world, not a single soul is currently providing a service for people desperately seeking what you can easily offer?
Is it, on the other hand, an idea that’s been slowly developing, shaping and maturing nicely over a period of time? Or it may of course be that you’ve taken a cool, clear look around at what’s out there, sussed out what’s working well for other people, fits well with your skills and opted for that.
Any reason why any of the above should hit the heights more than the others? None at all. Success is a destination that can be reached by any number of routes, not all of them original.

Waiting for Godot?

There are sometimes very good reasons for waiting to launch a business and if you have a great idea but a good reason to wait, well fair enough.
On the other hand, as often as not whilst you’re cherishing your brilliant plan, keeping it close to your chest and waiting for just the right moment to launch it on an unsuspecting public, someone, somewhere else will have had the same brilliant plan and be doing something about it. So think on.

Can you protect your business plans?

One of the things I hear often is, “I’ve got this brilliant business idea. Can’t really tell you very much about it, confidentiality, ideas leaking, someone may pinch it, etc., etc.” Well, let’s just stop for a moment or two and think about that. Brilliant indeed your business idea may be, but if no-one knows about it other than you, how successful is it going to be?
It’s a fact of life that a brilliant idea is just a brilliant idea.
It only stands a healthy chance of turning into a great business once you’ve started shouting it out to the rest of the world. Can you then protect it? Theoretically yes. In practice, not quite as easily as you’d like.
Intellectual property is what comes out of your head, be it a great business idea, a logo design, a cartoon character, a new theory of relativity or a relatively new theory on molecular physics. There are a number of ways to protect, copyright, patent and establish ownership of IP and there are experts out there to help and advise you on the best way to go about it. However, as with all things, you have to take a view. For example, whilst it’s perfectly reasonable to protect your IP to a certain extent, if it’s infringed how prepared are you to follow through? In other words, the full weight of the law might be on your side but often the legal system is an expensive and stressful tool to take up. What do you think?
Of course, also to be taken into consideration is the zeitgeist, which literally means ‘spirit of the time’. A combination of consumer demand, fashion and economics means that when a great business is launched by someone, somewhere else, totally unrelated and no skulduggery involved then a similar business is being launched by someone else – just because the time is right! You’ve had a great idea, so has someone else, nothing you can do about that.

So you can’t ever be certain you won’t be copied

You can’t be positive that no-one will be doing the same thing as you at the same time. You can’t even be sure that if, in fact, they are cheating and have pinched your stuff, you’ll be able to afford to bring them to book. But the most important thing to remember here is that whilst people can copy you, that’s all they can ever do – copy! They can’t speak with your voice or think with your thought process and sooner or later, without an original inspiration of their own, they’ll come very unstuck.

Laying your foundations

Building a business is no different from building anything else; if you don’t have firm foundations in place you’re at real risk of the whole lot coming down on your head at the first huff and puff of adversity. Added to that of course, into this business you’re putting time money and usually a heck of a lot of emotional input, and who amongst us wants to see all that wasted? So build carefully.
I’d define the basics of building your business quite simply as:
  • Getting your service or product branding right.
  • Marketing, advertising and generally getting word of your business out there.
  • Putting in place common sense practicalities like a bookkeeping system that’s accurate and always up to date.
  • Increasing your client base.
  • Making a profit!
Anyone disagree with those aspirations? Fair enough. Those are the basics. But you should have a fairly clear idea exactly what you’re aiming for beyond that, and this applies as much to those of you a fair way along the road as it does to those of you setting up something brand new.

The devil’s in the detail

For example:
  • How much you need to earn to pay back any money you originally put in?
  • How much you need to pay off any outstanding bills accrued whilst putting together your marketing material or website?
  • Once you’ve dealt with those issues, do you know what sort of figures you should be seeing coming in each month to cover ongoing overheads?
  • Given that you know the amount you need, how many clients, customers or projects will it take to get you to that point?
  • Do you feel that’s achievable and by when? In the next six months, one year, eighteen months, three years?
  • And last but certainly not least – you’re not doing this just for fun. How much do you need/want to take out of the business to pay yourself?
Now, I’m prepared to lay a pretty substantial bet that with the notable exception (and quite right too!) of accountants and perhaps a few other financial-minded bods, the rest of us don’t have anywhere near all the answers to those vital questions that we should. Which, when you think about it, is a pretty daft state of affairs and perhaps one that should be rectified in the very near future.
Hortense always felt ideas flowed better on a chaise longue.

Chapter 2


The above question is one we’ll come back to more than once – each time leaping on it from a different and unexpected angle. Why on earth would we want to do that?, I hear you query plaintively. Well, trust me on this – of all the important questions you need to ask yourself when it comes to setting up and growing your business, the above is possibly the most vital.

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