Starting your own business is exciting and terrifying in equal measure. Yes - you've taken control of your working life and you're choosing to do something you love and you know there's a market for; but you're also going to have to do everything yourself - all the tasks that you've never had to worry about before because there's a department, somewhere, sorting it out for you.
When you're in the know, though, you can use dedicated resources to shift those time-consuming, maybe even boring tasks off your desk so that you can get on with the business of running your business. Here are just four ways you can start to run a slicker, more profitable start-up.Sort out your time-management
This is where lots of new businesses struggle. Start-ups usually only have one person involved and that one person has to do everything. But there's never enough time - the hours you spend on admin should really be spent networking, selling, developing your pitch and your products and getting business through the door.
This is where your ability to delegate comes into play. Yes, it's your business and you want to make sure things are done properly - so why not delegate them to someone who has the experience and expertise to do things in half the time it takes you? Offloading tasks that you would end up doing in the evenings or weekends frees up time for your business.
It's easy for start-up businesses to think they need to employ one or two members of staff once things get off the ground. Becoming an employer brings a whole lot of responsibilities and adds a huge amount to your overheads. Until you can really afford and justify a permanent employee, spend your money wisely by outsourcing some of your jobs to an agency. You'll only pay for the time you use, and there will be no additional costs to your business. Use the skills around you
You've started your business because you have the knowledge and determination to succeed in your market. But very rarely does one person have all the skills he or she needs to build a really successful business - in fact, when you study the world's greatest entrepreneurs, you'll find that they quickly find the best people to run their businesses rather than try and do it all themselves. So the secret of success is to find skilled people and bring them along on your journey. Once you've started to develop your business, you'll find there are people with all sorts of niche skills who can help you out - from bookkeepers to diary management experts
. Use these skills when you need them so that you're confident your business is in safe hands.
Keep your finances in order
Right from day one, you should be organised about your finances. Keeping good records not only helps when tax-form deadlines arise; it also helps you to see what's happening in your business and allows you to plan ahead. If you're not a numbers person, consider outsourcing this part of your business right from the start. A good bookkeeper goes a long way towards keeping a strong hand on your finances, and you'll have up-to-date records so that when you need to apply for a loan, or a grant, or you're ready to change the way you run your business, you have the clear financial information you need to make an informed decision.
So, the best advice for start-up business owners is: Use the help that's there
. Going it alone is hard work and doesn't always have a happy business ending. Recognising the things you can outsource, and the skills you need to bring into your business, allows you to save time, control your spending and focus on what you really want to do - make your business a success.