1. Make sure it’s right for you
Are you ready for this? Starting your own business requires a lot of stamina and sacrifice. There will be times where it doesn’t seem like you’re getting anywhere, and so you need to be able to stay strong and optimistic in the face of adversity.
You need to do something you enjoy, but you should take your work seriously. Strong organisation skills and the ability to shamelessly self-promote are a must. The best way to make a successful business, whether your goal is a small independent consultancy or to be the next Richard Branson, is to have faith in yourself. With this foundation, the rest will hopefully fall into place easily.
2. Investigate the market
No matter how big or small your ideas are, you must have a working knowledge of the market that you’ll be entering. Keep up to date with local, national, and global trends so that you can ensure the lasting appeal of the product you want to be promoting.
The British Library’s Business and IP centre is a great place to start with this, and don’t forget that the internet can answer nearly every question. Search extensively online, as there are hundreds of business websites and blogs that can give you insider information and tips on getting further in your chosen area.
3. Make a business plan
A business plan is essential when it comes to presenting your idea to potential investors and other interested parties. Doing this will also help you set your own thoughts and goals down clearly, so that you can have a defined aim and route with which to get there.
Take a look at our writing a business plan page, which will give you some useful advice and links to other sites that can help you get started on this.
4. Check your finances
As well as being emotionally ready, you need to know that your personal finances will probably take an initial hit. If you’ve given up a job to work on your business full-time, you have to make sure that you can support yourself in case something doesn’t go to plan.
You should also have a clear idea of how much you are willing to put into your business, and how much gain will be worth the possible loss. Talk to your friends, family, and business partners about this and make sure that the investment will be worth it.
5. Choose the perfect name and logo
Hopefully this bit will be a lot of fun. You need to find something that represents what you’re looking to achieve and gives a positive impression of you and your idea. A good name and logo does much more than just looking nice: it should convey the personality of your brand and appeal to potential customers.
When working on this, think about your target audience and remember that, usually, the simpler the better.
6. Get your friends involved
You might be surprised at the skillset that people already in your life have to offer. Getting your friends involved can be great because it instantaneously makes the job more fun, and chances are they might work harder for you because they care about your goals too.
Some care is recommended, as there is a big difference between being friends with someone and working with someone, and this can sometimes cause friction. However, if you’re confident in your friend and your relationship with them, then hopefully you’ll be able to work towards something amazing together.
7. Network with everyone
Networking is so important to help spread your brand. The more people you meet, the more potential investors and customers you’ll meet. Social media is an amazing way to do this too, so don’t underestimate the power of Twitter and Facebook.
Check out our entrepreneur networking page for a list of resources that can help put you in touch with similar-minded people. We also have a guide on networking, and blog posts that will hopefully give you some tips on how to utilise it to its fullest if you’re not totally confident on how to go about it.
8. Find funding
To push forward with your company, you’ll probably need to find some investors or other source of income to increase your company potential. LSE Careers runs a funding competition via LSE Generate each year to help your business up and running, but this is not the only place you can go.
On the Generate finances page there are numerous links to help you find funding, and we also have some information on social change funding and crowd-funding too.
9. Protect your intellectual property
Before you start pitching your ideas, you need to make sure you have a framework in place to protect your intellectual property. Doing this will have you as the owner of the idea, and will make it easier to take legal action against anybody who tries to steal it.
Copyrighting any written text or trademarking your logo will make sure that these ideas are rightfully yours. You can find out more information on the government’s intellectual property website, and there are more resources listed on the our website too.
10. Make use of Generate
Generate is LSE’s dedicated department for helping students wanting to fulfil their entrepreneurial potential. We run regular events including networking, mentoring, and workshops to help you meet the right people and gain the best skills.