Now, more than ever, more and more people are deciding to set up their own businesses and be their own bosses. While this has always been n appealing option (as running your own business provides you with control over your own career path a whole host of freedoms, such as choosing what you sell, who you work with, where you work and what times you work), there are other major reasons that people are taking this potential career path a whole lot more seriously. Over the past year, the coronavirus and Covid-19 pandemic has seen many of us lose our jobs and we have been left with the desire to take control over our own careers. We’re tired of working for someone else who can easily make the wrong decisions that result in us losing our jobs at little harm to them. We may have also realised, during furlough and lockdown periods where we’ve been unable to work, that we don’t actually enjoy or feel truly invested in the career paths that we have chosen. Instead, many of us now want to focus on something that we’re genuinely interested in and that we’re happy to spend our time working on and investing our efforts into. On top of this, many of us are tired of building someone else’s fortune for them. We want to reap the rewards of our own hard work and make a fair amount of money, rather than constantly asking for promotions and pay rises, only to be faced with rejection. Of course, if you’re considering running a business, there are a whole host of steps that you’re going to need to take to run it well and experience success. There are some pieces of advice that are constantly given. Do your market research. Advertise. Market. But here are some less common suggestions that can help you along the way too!
Maintain Your Privacy
If you’re running your business from home, chances are you’re already struggling to maintain a healthy work-life balance in terms of splitting your space and time healthily. But you need to take some extra steps to manage your privacy to prevent your work life from truly overtaking your personal life. When you run a business, you need to provide customers with information about where you are based and registered to, as well as providing contact details for them to get in touch with queries, questions and complaints. Providing all of your personal information can put your personal security at risk as well as making it extremely difficult to step away from professional communications when you finish working for the day. Here are steps you can take to make things as private as possible for yourself.
Use a Forwarding Address
When you set up your small business, you’ll legally have to register your business to an address. This address will be on public record, so while you may decide to work from home, you should register your business to an address that isn’t your home. You don’t want your personal address widely and freely available to members of the public for a number of reasons. First, you may not want anyone who knows you to be able to know where you live. Secondly, your registered business address will likely be the same address that any professional correspondence will be sent to, so you may want to avoid mixing up your personal and professional mail. The good news is that there are many companies out there that will provide you with a business address that you can use and who will forward mail received at that address on to you at a time that is suitable and convenient for you too!
Have a Business Phone
All too many people use their personal phone as a business phone. This is often a step taken for financial reasons, as it will halve your phone expenses on a monthly basis – you only have to pay for one phone contract as opposed to a business contract and a personal contract. However, after a few months of doing this, you’ll likely come to the quick realisation that having a separate business phone is more than worth the expense. Why? Well, when you experience constant calls around the clock from customers and clients – even once you’ve finished work for the day – you can begin to feel stressed and bothered constantly. You may also find that you are subject to regular prank calls, which can become tiresome. From the other side of things, having your personal contacts popping up or calling you throughout the work day can also be distracting and make you lose focus on the tasks you are carrying out. Your personal phone can also contain all sorts of personal information and you use it to send personal messages. You don’t want to accidentally send an image of your pet dog to an important client or a joke text intended for your friends to a customer. So, all in all, separating the two is definitely a good idea.
Set Up a Professional Email Address
Like having a separate work phone and personal phone is a good idea, having a separate work email address and personal email address is also a very good idea. You don’t want your work emails filled with promotions, emails from mailing lists you’ve signed up to and more. Your personal email address may not come across as very professional to your customers and clients either. Instead, having a business email address will provide you with a sense of professionalism and authority. So, set one up as soon as you get your business up and running.
Most business advice out there focuses on getting sales and making profits. But it’s important to know that sealing the deal on the sale isn’t where your journey and hard work will end. Instead, there are steps that you need to take to make sure that you’re paid as quickly and seamlessly as possible. One of these steps is invoicing. All too many people neglect invoicing and find themselves completely forgetting to take payments for some goods and services or forgetting until way down the line and struggling to take payment. Invoicing really is a hugely important skill to master and you need to implement it into your business routine from the start to get into good habits. Now, the best way to go about invoicing is to learn how to create an invoice through a specialist app which can then manage all of your invoices for you. Having all of your invoices in one place allows you to dedicate an hour or so each week to checking all invoices and following up those that haven’t been paid. This will ensure that no invoices get left behind or forgotten and will ensure that you get all of the payments that you are owed.
If you’re just starting out in business, chances are you don’t really want to take on staff yet. Staff are a huge commitment and can be hard to manage. When you take on part time or full time staff, you have to commit to providing them with contracted hours and contracted pay, no matter how well or badly your business is doing. You also need to provide all sorts of benefits such as annual leave, sick pay and more. So, until your business has steady demand and is on its feet with plenty of profit behind it, you may want to consider outsourcing instead. Sure, you may feel that you can take on all the work yourself. But eventually, as demand grows, you’re going to have to accept some helping hands to keep your business afloat and to free up your time to focus on more progressive areas of your company, such as product development of new lines. Outsourcing is the least committal way to find this help. Put simply, outsourcing is a common business practice that involves handing over work that your company needs to be completed out to a third party. Most often, this third party will be a freelancer or an agency (who will have plenty of freelancers on their books and act as a middle person between you and them). This third party will ensure that the work gets done on your behalf but their services can be cancelled if you are struggling to get the money together to provide them with ongoing work. Outsourcing is also great for one off tasks that you don’t need someone to work on constantly, for example, creating a company logo or setting up a website.
As you can see, alongside the main things that people always talk about when it comes to setting up a business, there are plenty of other steps that you need to take into consideration. Those outlined above are just the tip of the iceberg, so you do have a lot of hard work ahead of you. But ultimately, you will find that everything is worth it once you have a successful business that you have full control over and that is drawing in profits.