Looking for a new challenge?
Building your own business is an opportunity to shrug off the nine-to-five lifestyle and follow your passion. But it can be hard to know where to start. Business expert Ruth Stokes suggests five steps to get you started.
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1. Figure out your vision
First of all, make sure you're clear about why you want to start a business, and what it's going to offer. Your product needs to be something you genuinely care about. That way, you'll be more likely to put in the hours and stick with it for the long term. It's also important to take a practical approach. Look to solve a problem – is your product or service something people actually need, or want?
2. Be unique
Research who your competitors are, what they offer, and how they do things. What makes you different? Work out what your values are, and make a pledge to stick to them. The clearer you can be about who you are and how you want to do business, the better.
3. Get the basics right
It's essential that you have a robust business plan in place. This should offer a concise summary of your business, set out your goals, and determine a budget. Be clear on where you're going to source funding from, and what you would do if this funding was to dry up after, say, the first year. It's also a good idea to introduce some day-to-day business procedures from the outset – organisation is key. O2 Business can help you to stay flexible and in control. Take a look at our Business Essentials tariffs, for all the data, apps and devices you need. Plus, you can change your tariff and upgrade your devices whenever you need to.
4. Recruit well and network hard
If you're planning to go into partnership with someone, or to become an employer, look for people who share your passion for the product. Ideally, they should also have knowledge that complements your own. If you're setting up a one-man operation, draw up a list of contacts who might be useful to you. Take them out for a coffee in return for their thoughts and experiences.
5. Try, try again
Starting a business is challenging and it's not a given that you're going to succeed straightaway. But don't be discouraged. The occasional failure is a valuable learning experience and starting a business is always going to be a case of trial and error to some extent. The main thing is to always look to improve. Solicit feedback from customers and suppliers, and take their responses on board.
We can help
With O2 Business, you can get the right tools to make a success of your business. First of all, set up your My O2 Business account. You can use it to view your bills, see your usage and check your remaining allowance. And it's available 24/7. Next, make sure you're keeping all of your devices and documents safe. Subscribe to McAfee Multi Access and get protection from viruses, spam, malware and identity theft. Then, think about how you're going to store content and share it with your employees and clients. Forget about hefty email attachments. Get Box to store your documents securely, share them with others and work from anywhere.
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