Our Business Creation experts are on hand to answer all your queries about setting up on your own. Christopher Allen, a Start-Up Adviser at FSB Legal, tackles the latest reader questions.
Q. I need to attract funding for my business. What’s the best way to
go about this?
A. Applying for a loan can be daunting as there are a number of different factors to consider. Creating a business plan and cash flow forecast helps lenders to understand your business venture.
Keep the business plan simple and don’t over complicate it
Conduct research to identify market trends, customer spending habits, pitfalls etc
Remember to calculate your entire start-up costs, as you don’t want to come up short if your application is successful
Have a good understanding of the business plan
Ask a friend to read the plan to ensure it reads well.
Q How can I make my business stand out from the crowd?
A Starting a business will involve competition. Don’t let this be an issue – review your competitors’ advantages and disadvantages, and build upon them.
Consider how customers will differentiate your products or services from those of your competitors. What will your USP be based upon? Loyalty schemes, a diverse product range or outstanding customer service? Identifying this from the outset can help you engage with your audience. Ask yourself:
What is unique about your business, price, service, branding or response time?
Where does your product sit within the marketplace?
How will you ensure customer satisfaction, and how will this be monitored?
Are your products mass or niche market?
Are your products sustainable at the current price?
Have you identified your ideal customer, i.e. age, location, social status, etc?
How do your products and services compare to those of your competitors?
Q How do I go about marketing?
A Creating a marketing strategy is more than handing out business cards or creating a website. It is creating a strategy for promoting your products and services.
The following areas are all worth considering:
How unique is your business? What is your USP? How will your products or services differ to those of your competitors?
Be creative. Using a number of different advertising platforms can target a wider audience and increase your chances of engaging with customers
Do your research. Identifying your target audience will enable you
to create tailored content to suit their age, social status and location
Set a budget. Using a number of different advertising platforms may cost you money, but setting a budget is important, as it can help with choosing the most effective mediums to match your budget.