Do know your customer: The better you know your customer, the easier it will be to develop an effective marketing plan to reach them. If you don’t know your customer, how will you know what they want and where to find them?
Do know your competition: The better you know your competition, the more you can understand what is unique about your business and find ways to compete and stand out in your market.
Do it because you want to: Some of the most successful businesses started out from somebody’s passion. If you truly want it, your business is much more likely to succeed.
Do ask for help: There is a wealth of support around you that you can tap into. Ask those around you what they think of your idea, whether it is family, friends, work colleagues or someone you know from the shops... All of their opinions are valuable. There is also business start-up support available through organisations such as The Women’s Organisation.
Do trust yourself: In the business start-up process, it is inevitable that everyone will want to offer their opinion and advice, which is helpful but it all comes down to what you believe is best for the business. Trust your instincts, they’ve got you this far right? Differentiate between those whose opinions will be loaded with bias (e.g. family who will want you to succeed) versus impartial advice, and those who are experienced and qualified versus those who are basing advice on their gut feeling.
Do work together: Networking and making connections is very valuable for any business. If you find complimentary businesses then opportunities for partnership work and cross promotion will appear.
Don’t assume: Just because you have a great product or service that you know people will want, don’t assume that customers will instantly find you. Have a clear plan of how you will reach your customers.
Don’t do everything: No one is good at everything and starting up a business is time consuming, so you certainly don’t have time to do everything. Utilise your skills and recognise your weaknesses so you can identify ways to fill the gaps.
Don’t get left behind: Nothing is slow in business, markets move very quickly and customers’ needs and buying habits change even faster. Keep ahead of your market by regularly conducting fresh market research.
Don’t give up: Your business plan is what it says it is; a plan. It is there to guide you in the right direction but you are the one who has to choose the way. Try something and if it doesn’t work, try doing it a different way. It’s important not to give up the first time something doesn’t go to plan. The most successful businesses are able to adapt and predict their next move.
Don’t rush: Reaching customers and generating regular sales takes time. Spend time building up your business and your customer base. It is better to perfect your approach than rush ahead with one that doesn’t work, that will only alienate potential customers.
If you are a woman based in Merseyside (Liverpool, Sefton, Wirral, Knowsley or Wirral) and you are thinking of starting a business, free support is available from The Women's Organisation to help you get starting. Get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org or 0151 706 8111 to book a free appointment with one of our business advisers.