Success in business can be hard to quantify. Common definitions include turning a profit, creating return for stakeholders, providing a quality service, and growing sustainably. Achieving these at your start-up business is certainly a challenge, but not impossible. With a clear plan, understanding of your market, and the right resources you can guide your new start-up to business success.

One: Organise and plan

Getting organised and having your plan for the future settled is essential to long term success. You will need to craft a detailed business plan and secure financing. A business plan should account for your findings from market research, how you will generate profit, handle cashflow, and manage expenses. Having a comprehensive plan will be essential to understanding how your business will operate today and into the future. Look into financing options including business loans, private investors, and government grants. Make sure you understand fully the obligations and responsibilities each one carries and factor them into your business plan.

Two: Understand the market

If you know the products or services, you will be providing you should know the industry that you are entering. Thoroughly research your competition, visit their businesses and use their services if possible, and see what you can do better. Remember not to lose sight of the big picture. What are the major movements taking place in the industry? How can you be a part of them, or get ahead? Are there upcoming changes to legislation or regulations that you need to be aware of? It is vital you stay on top of this as small and new businesses are more vulnerable to sudden changes in their industry and the wider economy.

Three: Find a niche

With your market research conducted, you will need to identify how your business fits into the industry. What innovation or twist on existing services can you provide? Is there an enhanced level of customer service you can offer to entice in customers? Is there an untapped market you can pursue? This can range from simple guarantees such as delivering quotes in 24 hours right up to offering highly bespoke, customised services that go above and beyond the competition.

Four: Hire a skilled team

The best leaders in business understand not only the need for expertise in each area of the business, but also that the skills of your team members must be complementary. Look to hire candidates who have more experience in their respective fields than you do. This will ensure you’re getting someone genuinely skilled and knowledgeable. You should also consider setting up a strategy committee which can include experts from outside the company. They can act as a sounding board and provide helpful advice for your plans and future strategies.

Five: Be adaptable

Having a solid plan is essential but being able to adapt quickly to changing circumstances is equally important. Small businesses can be more adversely affected by changes like rising interest rates or a recession. However, they can also be more agile. Without huge overheads, expensive premises, and large workforces you can adjust the direction of your company quicker than bigger competitors. Keep your finger on the pulse and be ready to react quickly. You should be prepared to adjust your business plan and company goals where necessary to meet changing circumstances.

Six: Build relationships

Building relationships is an essential part of the long-term health of your business. Wherever possible, set yourself up to gain repeat business for your customers. Even if you offer a service often considered a one-time purchase, can you offer repairs, maintenance, or servicing? Stay in touch with your clients with updates and offers and keep details of their needs, preferences, and previous orders close by so you can best meet their needs next time they get in contact. You can also build relationships outside of your business with networking. This will put you in touch with likeminded people who can share advice, potential leads, as well as put you in touch with useful contacts like suppliers, distributers, financiers, and solicitors.

One thing every start-up can benefit from, is professional help with finances and bookkeeping. Bells Accountants are an experienced team of qualified accountants offering a comprehensive range of services to business owners of every size. To find out how we can help your start-up succeed, call 020 8468 1087 or send an email to .