Starting a Small Business – A Checklist

While the coronavirus pandemic was disastrous for some small businesses, it undoubtedly created opportunities for others, with startups such as wood workshop Ash and Plumb and culinary firm VED Cooks launching successfully in 2020.

This is great news for the UK economy, with the latest figures suggesting that SMEs comprise 99.9% of the private sector business population and account for three-fifths of total employment in the UK.

But how can you go about launching your own small business? Here’s a brief but detailed checklist to keep in mind!

#1. Ideate and Carve Your Niche

The first step is to ideate, as you look to create an understanding of precisely what you want to do and how you intend to do it.

Whether you’re inspired by a particular skill or burning passion is relatively unimportant, with the key being that you can identify a relevant gap in the market and formulate an initial plan of how to fill this with your business idea.

This step is crucial, as one of the main reasons why as many as one-in-four startups ultimately fail is that they’re either ill-considered or not based on any existing need or demand in the wider marketplace.

#2. Find Your Audience

Once you’ve identified a need and forged a viable business solution, the next step is to hone in on your target audience.

Remember, it’s now possible to identify and target different demographics with increased precision, enabling you to better refine your marketing strategies and tailor promotions with far greater effectiveness.

By identifying and engaging a motivated audience and market for your products, you can also optimise the value of individual customers and make it easy to incentivise them over time.

#3. Create Loyal Customers and Drive Repeat Business

If you want to set your business up for sustained success, it’s also important to optimise the longevity of customer relationships and create a loyal base of consumers who keep coming back for more.

One way to achieve this is to launch a tailored and rewarding loyalty program, which creates targeted incentives across the board for different audiences.

This can manifest itself in many ways, from free products after a predetermined number of purchases or inflated discounts based on your total spend.

#4. Create a Brand Identity

From Millennial-favourite Apple to the now iconic Gymshark, the most successful startups and new SMEs often build long-term success on a clearly-defined and relevant brand persona.

This should be created by translating the core values and principles that underpin your brand into human characteristics and emotions, before combining these into a consistent personality that’s communicated through branding and messaging over time.

While this process takes time, it’s also highly effective, especially in terms of successfully targeting key demographics and ensuring that they remain loyal to the brand for a concerted period of time.

Just remember; consistency is key here, while the underlying business and its operation must uphold the core principles of the brand identity if it’s to be considered as authentic.

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