You’re on the cusp of that one big idea. It’s a time of excitement, research and discussion. You’re itching to jump headlong into launching your start-up. But before you do, you should pause for a moment and put your mind to 5 essential skills. Then, once you’ve mastered them, the business world is your oyster.
1. The art of networking
‘It’s who you know, not what you know’ may be an overused saying, but it does ring true as you embark on your business venture. At this point, you need all of the contacts you can get. Some will be able to offer advice and expertise. Others may be in a position to help with the logistics, or to simply provide moral support. Either way, it’s time to jump on LinkedIn and dig out those old forgotten business cards in the deepest depths of your wallet. Lay your contacts on the table and start talking. You never know what will come of it unless you try.
2. How to build a brand
Image is everything, especially when it comes to business. And there’s little point in launching a start-up without understanding how to create a brand. We don’t mean any old brand: we’re talking a suite of design assets that make a strong statement about your business. Your brand – everything from your logo to your web content – should be memorable, honest and original. Do it right, and it will put you head and shoulders above your competitors, right from the word go. So make it count.
3. Basic financial management
It may not be the most exciting facet of business, but financial management is certainly one of the most important skills you can master before launching a start-up. First, you’ll need to register your business as a legal entity. Then, you’ll need to put the systems in place to manage your finances – whether that’s physical folders, an Excel spreadsheet or nifty accounting software. Learn a few good habits now, and you’ll save yourself time and headaches further down the line. So file your receipts, keep a running total of your income and expenditure, and list your assets. Or better still, find a good accountant to do take it all off your shoulders.
4. Get online savvy
From building brand awareness to generating online sales, you should not dismiss the benefits of the World Wide Web. In fact, a strong online presence can give your fledgling business the best possible start in life – so now is the time to get internet savvy. You’ll need a website, along with a solid digital marketing strategy to drive traffic. So if you don’t know your CMS from your SEO, it’s time to gain some online skills. Read blogs, speak to marketing experts (here’s where your contact list will come in handy), or even enlist the help of a digital agency. A little time and effort now will go a long way as your business starts to grow.
5. How to measure success
Success may sound like a concept, but there are ways you can – and should – measure it. To start, you’ll need a clear idea of your goals. What are you trying to achieve this month; this year; over the next five years? Set up the systems to measure this success – whether it’s conversion tracking in Google Analytics, financial forecasts or the growth of your mailing list. Don’t take a ‘finger in the air’ approach – you need focus and precision from the moment you get started. Then, if you begin to veer off course, you can set things right before any damage is done.
So before you launch your start-up, take stock and get skilled up. These five skills won’t only stand you in good stead as you begin your venture – they’ll provide a sound basis throughout the entire lifespan of your business.
Written by Jonathan Myers, Director at UWM Accountants in Leeds. If you require professional accounting assistance in the UK, we can help. Our fully compliant bookkeeping and accounting services can help your business grow and develop.
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