So, it’s already November. Actually it’s nearly December!

It’s been an incredibly busy time at Peach. I think this speaks volumes about what is happening out there in small business. People are starting them.

We’ve been busy because people are starting businesses.

We’re seeing increasing numbers of people, tired of working for someone else, or perhaps forced into re-thinking their careers after being made redundant, becoming small business owners.

I don’t know if there’s anything that can prepare you for being in business for yourself. I don’t have children, but I can only imagine that is the only thing that would be comparable to the amount of havoc that starting a small business can have on your life. Think up’s, down’s, upside down’s and left right out’s.

Starting a business is extremely exciting. It’s also stressful, nerve-racking, challenging and will test everything you thought you knew about yourself.

You need good friends and family around you, as well as a way to release stress and stay healthy.

Here are a few tips on starting a business:

1. Write a Business Plan! Yes, you too.

You can do this yourself, or with a business planning expert.

Why? Because it will get what’s in your head out into the real world, and help you to answer the questions you’ve been too scared to ask yourself about what you need to do to get going.

Make sure your business plan helps you to work out the really “obvious” things like how many hours do I need to sell each week to pay my living costs, or how many dresses do I need to sell each month to make this worth leaving my job for, etc, etc.

There’s an excellent, simple cloud based package available for just $20 per month. It’s called Live Plan, and I now recommend it to every one of my start up clients.

Check out Live Plan

2. Do some networking

When you’re getting started in business, you can sometimes (all the time?) feel like a bit of a dick. It’s true. The first time you try and talk about what you’re doing you’ll probably feel a little silly. Kind of like a kid on their first day at school trying to make friends.

Getting out and networking (I’m not talking about those awful networking groups full of pressure to refer work to each other) will do wonders for your confidence, and build networks of people around you to help answer questions, and bounce ideas around with.

Your local council probably has regular events that you can get involved in, and Flying Solo can also be a great resource for finding networking “meet-up’s”.

3. Talk to as many professionals as you can

If you have the budget to engage some professionals in your business, you can almost guarantee that you’ll get off the ground faster. Find someone good to talk to, to flesh out your idea and get moving.

If you don’t have the budget for professional advice, talk to everyone you know who has their own business. They will be a wealth of knowledge, and most small business owners I know are more than happy to offer newcomers a bit of advice to get them started.

4. If you don’t know how to sell, learn. Fast.

Being able to sell (your product, service or idea) is one of the only PREREQUISITES to starting up on your own.

Small business people can not afford to outsource this vital part of their business. Sure, get some help with your marketing strategy, your brand and design, how you’re going to sell it and what you’re going to say.

But if you don’t have the sparkle when it comes time to close the deal, you will not succeed in business on your own.

This doesn’t mean that you’re not a good business person. Just that you need to re-think whether being at the front end of a small business is the right spot for you. Perhaps going into business with a sparkly friend is the better option for you?

5. Stay healthy

And while we’re on that note, do as I say not as I do!

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If you’re about to start a new business, great! I wish you every success in the world.

At Peach we provide strategic and creative services to small business.

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