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SME and start-up business tips

Does your brand lack direction or need a fresh start? Packed inside this week’s blog are the business staples, tips and insight to laying down the business groundwork and staying ahead of the curve. Whether you’re a start-up or established business that needs to hit reset, this week’s blog can pack more punch into your brand. 

The concept

When it comes to thinking of a killer business concept, many people will tell you to ‘do what
you love’ or ‘follow your passion’. These are definitely formulas for success, but in reality a business involves so much more – from strategy, finance, research, sourcing, paying your suppliers, ticking off mundane tasks like paying bills down to sheer stamina. So don’t just consider what you love doing, but also your personality type, how you work, what skills and abilities you already have, whether you buckle under pressure, what makes you tick and whether you can handle the many hurdles and setbacks just part of business. It’s also vital to consider whether your business idea is marketable and will convert to sales.

Research the market

Research is critical to test the feasibility of your business idea, and see where similar concepts thrived or fell over. Standing out takes a point of difference, so thoroughly research your competitors to see where you stand apart.

Three tips for getting research right

Define your market – who are your customers, what do they like, what hurdles and setbacks do they face and what solutions can you offer?

Research the competition – investigate who your competitors are, what they do, what their strengths and weaknesses are and how they price. Where are you different?

Map it out –
pinpoint gaps in the market and do a SWOT analysis to identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Determine your ‘why’ (the reason you’re in business) and fine-tune your market position or unique selling point (UPS).
You should be crystal clear of why you’re there, how you stand out and what you do differently.

Stick to your core values and beliefs

Running a business and spinning a profit is a challenge at any given moment – it’s certainly not glitz and glamour which most start-ups will tell you. To keep sustainable you should stay authentic and true to your core values. Consistency and congruence across every aspect of your business is critical, or the stress, pressure and work will outpace you.

Write a business plan

A business plan is like a blueprint for your business, detailing your vision, strategy, budget, finances, marketing, competitors and contingency. Some people will tell you that a business plan isn’t essential – but apart from a tool to attract investors and talent, it makes you plan, review, breakdown and map out the way your business is put together which is really crucial to success.

A typical business plan should include:

»» A cover page with contact details
»» An executive summary – describing what your business does and what it solves;
»» A company overview
»» An industry analysis
»» A customer analysis
»» A competitive analysis
»» A marketing plan
»» An operations plan
»» A management section, outlining the key company personnel (and who you need to hire)
»» A financial plan and;
»» An appendix including income statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements.

A business plan also makes you accountable and keeps you on course, so start writing. 

Seek finances resourcefully

Even low-cost start-ups require financing to get started. Finance options include business
loans, overdrafts, lines of credit, fully-drawn cash advances and many start-ups take the
route of crowdfunding or private investors like venture capitalists.

Tips from the experts

Speak to, follow and read about the successes and failures of entrepreneurs. Learning from
their mistakes can save you from slipping up, while leveraging off their lessons and successes.



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