Tag Archives: outsourcing

Enterprise essentials #2 – 21 more tips from StartUp Saturday

It was the first day of September – a good time to be thinking about starting a business. We’re at the wonderful British Library Business and Intellectual Property Centre in central London for a StartUp Saturday business class led by Enterprise Nation founder Emma Jones. There’s an expectant buzz within the group of 30 aspiring business owners and, interestingly (to me at least), 75% are women; confirming my theory about women and entrepreneurship. It was a day that was rich in experience, of both Emma Jones and the participants, inspiring an intriguing array of start-up businesses at different stage in their development.

I’ve now been in business advice roles of various kinds for nearly two decades and I never stop learning – the following 21 insights, quotes and tips made it into my notebook…

  1. According to the Henley Business School, developing a ‘side hustle’ [a secondary business or job that brings in, or has the potential to bring in, extra income] applies to 25% of all adults, with the figures for employees rising to nearly 40%
  1. If you’re thinking of setting up a side hustle alongside your main employment… it’s a good idea to check what your contract says, informally check out company policy, and get advice from ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) if necessary
  1. Would-be entrepreneurs see a niche business as narrowing the potential market for the products or services on offer, creating a disadvantage. In practice, it deepens the market which can mean lower marketing costs and higher customer loyalty
  1. The secret to success in services such as photography, PR [public relations] and events is often to go for a niche part of the market. Hone in on deciding exactly who your business is for – photos for parents of new-born babies maybe
  1. It’s always worth re-quoting the cliché ‘There may be a gap in the market, but is there a market in the gap?’
  1. There are three broad sources for most business ideas: A gap in the market (no one else is doing it), a passion (I want to get paid for something I love), improvement (I can do it better)
  1. IMOFF – a mnemonic for the main elements of a business plan – Idea, Market, Operations, Finances, Friends
  1. 3 Bs to start-up and grow your business cost-effectively: beg, borrow, barter. And ‘surround yourself with experts’ when your business is young. Becoming ‘an expert’ yourself is good for profile-building
  1. Avoid ‘friends and family focus groups’ they’ll usually want to please you, rather than tell you the truth. But a face-to-face focus group, even with your most loyal customers, can often give you greater insights than a larger arms-length consultation
  1. When you can afford to… “Do what you do best and outsource the rest”. Carry out a simple cost-benefit analysis to see how you spend your time. What do you love (that generates income)  and how much time could you liberate if you outsourced what you don’t?
  1. Crowdfunding is an increasingly popular way to raise finance to start a business. And some are even launching campaigns for the profile-raising, rather than fundraising, potential. Family and friends are still the most popular source for start-up finance
  1. On business names… It’s best to have a name that is memorable and pronounceable. Your company, domain and trading names can be different [but some sort of association is helpful]
  1. While honesty should be at the heart of all your business dealings, at times it may be expedient to tell ‘future truths’. [Positivity without porkies?]
  1. 3 Cs to turn your passion into profit online – Content (around something you and others love) to build your Community (through social media) as the seedbed for Commercial development (jargon alert – monetization)
  1. Selling is very much a numbers game needing perseverance and patience. But doing even simple things to increase sales can make a difference because so few people [in small businesses] do so.
  1. People go to Pinterest to buy things (but can’t) which may explain why you can now buy on Instagram. Twitter and Facebook are not designed for sales (but Facebook ads work for small businesses)
  1. Twitter is useful for sharing your expertise, Facebook is social (for building your following), LinkedIn is good for business-to-business and ‘selling’ via Groups), YouTube can substantiate your business or build a business in its own right
  1. Measure what social media tools work best for your business, then focus on the one or two that are getting most engagement with your target audience
  1. Events can bring your contacts and (potential) customers together. “If you connect your contacts to each other, you connect them ever closer to you”
  1. DIY routes to making money. A commercial ‘how-to guide’ on YouTube is the entrepreneur’s dream – making money while you sleep. Putting on paid-for in-person training courses can both generate additional income and increase demand for your core services
  1. An ABC of plate spinning to keep you sane in business – Administration (having control – money in, money out) Business development (attracting new customers) Customer care (keeping your customers and building loyalty)

Further start-up support: www.enterprisenation.com  and www.princes-trust.org.uk/help-for-young-people/support-starting-business

The first 21 StartUp tips: https://enterpriseessentials.wordpress.com/2018/01/15/enterprise-essentials-21-tips-from-startup-2018/