You could say it happened out of nowhere – in the shower, on the train on your way home from work, on the treadmill as you sweat it out. We’re talking about that sudden flash of an idea that you think could make a viable business and until you execute some part of it, it’s hard to let it go.
Experts call this Entrepreneurial Seizure; or the moment when a person becomes so enamoured by an idea or service that they decide to execute it.
There’s only one problem: you have a full time job – and as the founder of your own business, you will be wearing many hats. You will be the production, the salesperson, the marketer and the bookkeeper just to name a few. So before you think of quitting, it’s wise to kick things off softly and use up the time you have to nurture this small business to gauge if you can get a healthy cash flow. Assuming you have a product and service in mind, here are some aspects to get you started on a small scale.
Construct a simple brand to start
If you don’t already have a name for your business, now’s the time to think of one. This name will be on your branding, your invoices, and your future registration as a proper business. Once you have your name, getting a logo should be the next step as it’s one that will be used on all your assets as much as your business name.
Once you have your name and logo, start a social media account like Instagram and Facebook. These platform’s ability to reach audiences to turn them into customers is understated and besides your own manpower hours it’s free. In many ways, your social media account is one of the first places a user might come across for your business.
Have a website
The first thing any business needs is a customer, and the only way to get customers, is to get your name out there. Once you’ve decided on the name of your business and have a logo, buy a domain and start your website. It’s easy to go overboard and think you need an extremely fancy website, but that can come later. Link your site with all your social media profiles. What it should at least contain however, is a list of your products/services and how to get in touch. If yours is an e-shop then this will be the most vital part of your business. If you have the bandwidth, consider signing up for an email marketing software and embed forms for web visitors to sign up for newsletters. Here’s a tip: always have an About section. It’s one of the key pieces of information any potential customer will have.
Generate those sales leads
With these three in place, it’s time to get some customers. Invest some time into posting on social media and engaging with other users. Post regularly and make the effort to like the content of users who use hashtags relevant to your industry. With any luck, potential customers will be curious enough to head to your profile, and check out your website. They may not make a purchase immediately, but at this stage, awareness is everything.
Sign up for free accounting software
At the start, you will need to keep your own books and find a way to keep track of expenses and cash flow without having a full time accountant. Thankfully, there’s plenty of free accounting software available online that automates many processes, at least for sole proprietors and businesses taking their first steps. Some even offer invoicing and receipts. A simple google search will throw up plenty of user-friendly options.
So what’s next?
The ability to generate a healthy cash flow will be an important aspect of your business not just to pay yourself, but also to potentially canvass for investors. Run your fledgling business on these bare bones for a start, and if you find yourself profitable to the point where you can pay yourself and more, that’s when you know it’s time to register your business, apply for business grants and then shoot for the stars.