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First Steps: FSB Business Creation experts answer your questions


Our Business Creation experts are on hand to answer all your queries about setting up on your own. The following are just some of the questions we’ve received recently.

Q What do I need to consider if I plan to work from home?

There are a number of advantages and disadvantages to working from home. The advantages include lower costs, convenience and no hassle in finding premises. But you need to be disciplined, and you could potentially have very little separation between your home life and work life. 

There are a number of important rules and regulations that you should consider before you start a business from home. For example, you might need written permission from your mortgage provider, landlord or your local council. 

It doesn’t happen that often but you may need to apply for planning permission or building regulations depending on the section of the house that you use for business purposes.

If you use a substantial area for your business, you may also have to pay business rates on the part of the property that is used for business purposes.

You might consider converting your garage or purchasing a shed to keep your business separate from your home. If converting your garage, we’d suggest that you contact your local council as they may be able to provide you with sample plans and information on any possible restrictions that may apply.

Q How can I say what is unique about my business?

A This can be very difficult to identify, especially when starting a business. 
Being cheaper than your competitor is not necessarily the best option, because you need to cover your costs, make a profit and still have a viable business.
There are a number of questions to ask yourself if you are struggling to identify your unique selling proposition. 
 Do you offer value for money?
 Is customer service important to the services or products that you offer? 
 Are you a leader within your industry? 
 Do you offer a quality service?
 Are you accessible to your clientele?

Finally, listen to your customers and try to give them what they want – it’s their opinion that matters most.  

Q What do I need to research before starting a business?

Research the market. Without knowing your customers’ needs, you will struggle to have a successful business.

You need to establish the types of goods and services that potential customers are looking for, and if they are interested in what you are offering.

While conducting your research, consider the following:
 The demographics of your target market
 Where potential customers currently purchase their products and services
 What they want in terms of value for money

Conduct a survey of the target market to find out what is important to them, and identify the latest trends.

It’s also key to know who your competitors are, and what opportunities or threats they pose. 

If you know what your customers want and can deliver a quality product or service on a consistent basis, you should be well on your way to running a successful business.