Whilst the COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it a lot of hardship and uncertainty, it also inspired huge volumes of people to take the leap into self-employment. In fact, a whopping 835,494 new businesses were registered in 2020, which shows that the UK’s entrepreneurial spirit is greater than ever before.
With this in mind, Aaron Gilmore of TreyBridge Accountants has put together some advice for anyone who is either planning on launching a new business or has recently set one up.
Shape your business plan around the reader
We all know that a business plan is crucial if you want to secure funding from a bank or attract a business partner, as it sets out what you aim to achieve and how you’ll make it happen. However, the impact of your business plan revolves around who exactly is reading it at the time.
“In the same way that your marketing will use different methods of communication depending on the audience, your business plan should also factor in the reader,” says Aaron. “The overall details will probably remain consistent but the style of delivery may require tweaking. Think about what the individual needs to know and decide how your idea can be conveyed in a way that suits their role or contribution. This can make a world of difference at such a crucial stage.”
Understand your market
It’s tempting to believe that you know everything about your target audience, yet consumer behaviours and buying trends are constantly shifting. Being agile will make the setting up of a business significantly more manageable.
“Start by defining your buyer personas. Are they small business owners or CEOs of large companies? Do they need to manage a particular department or do you provide a product or service that will benefit workers in a variety of roles? This level of detail is essential, as it will form the foundations of your brand voice and enable you to solve specific problems commonly encountered by the customer.”
Study your competitors
Unless your product or service is the first of its kind, your new business will definitely have multiple competitors.
“Competition is a good thing and should be used as a motivator,” says Aaron. “It’s true that a particularly busy marketplace can be risky for start-ups, which is why you need to be prepared to pivot your business model and adapt in line with the needs of your target users. Your unique selling point should clearly show why your product or service is the best around and it’s the key to unlocking ongoing success.”
Don’t shy away from professional advice
Even if your offering is first-rate, running a business comes with far more duties than making a sale. Accounting, payroll, budgeting, forecasting, human resources, marketing, advertising, compliance and many other core duties have to be taken into account.
“Don’t try to do everything yourself,” advises Aaron. “You may not have the capital to take on employees right away, but there’s so much value to be gained from professional advice. Outsourcing your accounting tasks may be more affordable than you think and can result in savings through tax-efficient schemes. There are also countless sources of free information and guidance (such as Business Mondays), so make the most of them and understand that there’s always more to learn.”
Ask Aaron anything
Aaron Gilmore is the owner of TreyBridge Accountants, which supports businesses large and small across the UK. If you’re setting up a business and want to make it a smooth process, get in touch with him for a free consultation.