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Top 10 tips for starting your first business during the lockdown

As the UK continues to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic, with almost nine million workers currently furloughed, many are considering the possibility of a career change. Perhaps you have had an idea for your own business for years, or maybe the boredom and frustration of being out of work is driving you to become an entrepreneur? Whatever your reasons, it can be easy to assume that now is not the right time to start a business. Let’s face it; millions are losing their jobs, and the economic situation doesn’t look very positive for the years ahead. But all is not lost. With the right strategy, idea, and determination, you can make a success of a startup right now. In fact, some sectors are booming, struggling to keep up with demand as consumer habits change. If you’re ready to give it a go, you’ve come to the right place. Below, we’ve rounded up ten tips for starting your first business during lockdown… Choose something you’re passionate about First up, make sure you choose an industry that you’re genuinely passionate about. If you’re simply jumping on the latest trend or starting a business for the sake of it, the chances are that you’ll run out of steam pretty quickly. You need to identify a genuine gap in the market for a product or service like yours and care about the difference you could make to the world. Granted, you’re not going to love every aspect of your business - very few people do. But you need to have some fire in your belly. You’ll have to devote hundreds of hours to your project before it gains any meaningful traction, so choose something that makes you excited. Remember you won’t be furloughed forever If you’re considering starting a business off of the back of being furloughed, remember that you will return to work eventually. If you’re at home twiddling your thumbs, now is the ideal time to get your business plan complete and kickstart your venture, but ask yourself whether you’ll have the time and energy to work on your side hustle when you’re back to the grind. In an ideal world, you’ll launch a business and make a success of it before you’re due back in the office, but the odds of that are slim. Be realistic and set yourself long-term goals; you may want to work with a friend to share the workload and burden of starting your business. Assess whether there’s a demand Next, decide whether there’s a demand for your products or services. Analyse some of your competitors, see how they’re faring in the current market, and ask yourself what you’ll do differently to stand out. You could also speak to your target audience (not just friends who’ll be overly optimistic). It’s all well and good being inspired by another business, but unless you can add value and persuade their customers to switch, your startup won’t have legs. Think about the current economic climate Something else to bear in mind is the current financial climate. We’re living through truly unusual times in that, for the vast majority of the workforce, wages and salaries have been shielded. That won’t last forever; with major organisations slashing thousands of jobs and consumers reluctant to spend, we’re heading for one of the sharpest recessions on record. How can you make your business recession-proof? Target the “budget” market rather than high-end customers, add multiple revenue streams to your business to reduce reliance on one product, and focus on delivering great customer service to keep existing clients happy. Take a business training course If you’re new to the world of entrepreneurship, starting a business can be overwhelming, as there are so many things you need to think about. The good news is that there are some great business courses that can equip you with the skills and confidence you need to get started and make a success of your new business venture. From writing a business plan to budgeting and winning proposals, the help you need is widely available - so don’t overlook it. Don’t give up the day job just yet Time for another reality check: 60% of businesses go under within three years, and 20% go bust within a year. Before you quit your day job and devote 100% of your time and money to your venture, think about how you’re going to support yourself and your family in the initial months. Most businesses take several months to get off the ground, so ensure you have enough savings to cover the bills and consider taking out a loan if you’re confident that your project will succeed. Alternatively, stay in your job and work on your business as a side hustle until it grows to a point where you need to employ a full-time member of staff: you. Put everything into marketing If you only take away one piece of advice from this article, let it be this: no business will succeed without an effective marketing strategy. It’s all well and good asking friends and family to like your page on Facebook and help you distribute some leaflets, but the key to long-term success is to build your brand online through social media, content writing, and SEO. You might also want to consider running some paid advertisements to spread the word, so factor these costs into your business plan and decide how you’re going to fund it. Have a mentor or professional on hand Whether you’re new to the business world or you’re a serial entrepreneur, having a mentor or experienced professional from your niche to answer questions will help you a lot. Starting your own business can be tough and, at times lonely, and knowing there’s a friendly voice at the end of the phone if you need some advice will help you relax. It might be a former boss, a friend, or a colleague who’s working in the same industry as you. Just ask them politely! Get to grips with taxes and legalities Make sure you’re aware of any laws surrounding your business before you get started to avoid fines. In the beauty industry, for instance, aesthetic clinics cannot promote botox on social media. You should also look into taxation and appoint an accountant if you’re not comfortable doing an annual self-assessment. Keep a record of every transaction - both income and expenditure - and consider using bookkeeping software to make your life easier. Grow a thick skin - you’re going to need it Finally, get yourself into the right mindset for starting your own business. The truth is that the business world can be cutthroat, and you’ll have to learn to take rejection and criticism from every angle. Have a good support network around you, know your worth, and think positively - you can’t let one negative comment or scenario taint your dreams of becoming successful. At SavvyWise, we're proud to offer quality, affordable training courses online that you can complete in your own time. Our courses are designed to upskill you and give you the confidence in your business idea. Click here to find out more and get started today.

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