Friday, 21 December 2012

Common pitfalls to avoid

Research has indicated that there are some common reasons for businesses failing. It is important that you are aware of the common reasons for business failure, which primarily impacts on your cash position, so you can plan to avoid these.

  • Not enough capital
  • Growing too fast
  • Hiring the wrong people
  • Lack of experience
  • Too few customers
  • Setting prices too low
  • Poor financial controls
  • Bad debts
  • Poor control of your overheads
  • Competition
  • Poor communication with staff 
  • Health issues of the key people
  • Bad management & Poor supervision
  • Poor communication with suppliers
  • Poor communication with customers
  • Bad luck
  • Poor planning
We cover these areas in more detail on our dvd.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

SWOT Analysis

So what are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for your start up idea?

We have included a template on our web site to help you consider your personal SWOT analysis. The tips to consider are:
·         What advantages do you have or what do you do better than anyone else?
·         What do people in your market see as your strengths?
·         What factors mean that you "get the sale"?
·         What could you improve?
·         Are there areas you should avoid?
·         What are people in your market likely to see as weaknesses?
·         What factors lose you sales?
·         Where are good opportunities for you?
·         What are the interesting trends you can maximise?
·         What obstacles do you face?
·         What is your competition doing that you should be worried about?
·         Is changing technology threatening your position?
·         Are political or environmental decisions likely to impact your business
·         Could any of your weaknesses seriously threaten your business?

Once you have completed the SWOT analysis, then you should consider how this knowledge can be used:
1.    How can we Use each Strength?
2.    How can we Stop each Weakness?
3.    How can we Exploit each Opportunity?
4.    How can we Defend against each Threat?

Friday, 14 December 2012

Market research

The most common reply to the question of market research is that my friends and family think it is a good idea. Of course they will, as they want to support you and take a true friend to tell you 'don't do it'.
Effective market research is commonly broken down to Primary and secondary research. So your own specific research could include
  • Questionnaires
  • Interviews
  • Focus groups
  • Product tests
  • Test marketing
  • Published information and statistics
  • Observation
  • Mystery shopping

You should also undertake your own competition analysis to see how your competitors approach the market with their product or service. You may have a different approach, but your competitors have started their business, so we suggest you will not have to re-invent the wheel after reviewing your observations.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Can you afford to start your own business?

Are you a risk taker? They say all top entrepreneurs are willing to take risks. However these are usually calculated risks unless the business owner can afford the possible loss.
Starting your own business will always be a risk, as there are not such guarantees in life. So we recommend you review your personal financial position to ensure that you can afford to start your business.
Firstly we would recommend a review of your personal assets, especially your liquid assets such as bank or savings accounts, shares etc, so you know you have back up resources if it takes longer than planned to get the business off the ground.
On our web site we offer a template to help this consideration.
We also offer a template for considering your personal survival budget. This is the minimum figure that you need the business to earn for you each month to ensure that your personally survive. It is no good running a business that breaks even without providing you with cash or a return to achieve the motivation and reasons you started in business.