Launching a new business is a serious undertaking, no matter how much prior experience you have. If you are preparing to launch your first startup, you will inevitably have to do a lot of learning on your feet. However, the more you can prepare yourself beforehand, the easier you will find it to pick things up as you go.
In fact, the choices that you make during the earliest stages of your business will significantly impact how smoothly your first year of operations proceeds. Good planning will go a long way to making sure that you are able to launch without a hitch and give you the best chance of surviving those treacherous first few months when your business is at its most vulnerable.
One of the most important decisions you will have to make as you prepare to launch your business is where you will base your business. Whether your business is going to operate out of a brick and mortar premises or you are planning on delivering your services remotely, choosing the right base of operations is an important decision. When choosing a home for your business, you need to think about more than just the practical considerations.
Lots of entrepreneurs will found their businesses in the area where they live, or in an area that they have a connection with. While these can both be advantages in their own right, you should also consider what’s on offer in terms of support and funding. By this measure, Suffolk is one of the best places in the UK to start a business.
Why You Should Choose Suffolk
One of the biggest challenges any new business in the UK faces is finding support. A decade of austerity has led to a significant reduction in the availability of grants and other sources of support and funding that were once prevalent throughout the country. Now that these are gone, businesses are left to fend for themselves. While some feel the central government has let entrepreneurs down, local authorities have picked up the slack, in some areas at least.
Suffolk is one of the best places in the UK to launch a startup, not just because of the variety of support options that are available, but also because of its proximity to London. Travel between Suffolk and London is relatively cheap and only two and a half hours away by train. Suffolk is also a relatively affluent area with a wealthy local client base, but there are plenty of affordable accommodation options.
As well as its desirable location, startups in Suffolk can also benefit from a number of local initiatives that exist to support fledgeling businesses. For example, there is the East of England Energy Zone. The East of England is the perfect place for wind offshore wind farms, as well as gas and nuclear energy facilities. Businesses looking to enter into the energy sector can qualify for rates relief and other benefits, including free support and advice and funding of up to £500,000.
Another reason that Suffolk is an exciting place for entrepreneurs to invest in and launch their startups is its shifting demographics. Around a third of the businesses launched in Suffolk over the last two years have been targeting over-50s. This is reflective of a broader national trend, but where Suffolk differs from the rest of the country is that there are a growing number of young entrepreneurs looking to start businesses immediately after finishing school, college, or university.
Many of the younger entrepreneurs who have made Suffolk their home are starting what we would call “non-traditional” businesses. These include businesses that are focused on delivering online services and creative businesses like textile printing, music, and other media-based industries. The one thing that all these Suffolk startups have in common is access to the unique support infrastructure that exists in the county.
Defining Your Business’s Purpose
Hopefully, if you are planning on launching a business of your own, you will already have a good idea of what your business will be doing. Whether you are planning on opening a retail store, a marketing agency, or any other type of business, you need to define what sets your business apart from your competitors. To do this, you will need to clearly set out your goals and establish exactly what the purpose of your business is.
Every business should have a business plan. A business plan is a document that sets out what you want to achieve and how you will go about achieving it. By keeping your business plan updated to reflect your progress, it can also serve as a roadmap. However, while your business plan is an excellent way of defining and measuring your business goals, it is important to also have personal aspirations.
You should be aiming to get more out of your business than just money. Launching and running your own business is a difficult undertaking – if you aren’t getting anything out of it on a personal level, then you are going to find it a very difficult slog. Think about what you want to get out of this as a person and how you can go about achieving it.
Getting Your Admin in Order
Different businesses will have different admin requirements. Some business types require an inordinate amount of paperwork just to get the doors open, whereas others won’t have to fill out a single form. You may also need to consider how you will provide new workers with the training that they need. For example, consider whether IPAF courses will be beneficial to your business – if your startup is going to be operating out of a warehouse or in another environment that requires the use of powered access platforms, then you should consider IPAF courses for new workers.
The last thing you want is to launch your business, only to discover that you have overlooked a piece of important paperwork and now have to put your plans on hold. Do your research beforehand and make sure that you have identified every piece of documentation that you will need to open your doors legally.
When you first begin trading as your new startup, it makes sense to target your local market first and foremost. Local marketing is a very different beast to your general marketing and needs to be approached in a particular way.
Social media marketing is ideal for boosting your local profile because you can micro-target your campaigns so that your marketing content is being shown mostly or only to people for who it is relevant. There’s no sense in advertising your local business to people on the other side of the country.
The way that you launch a new business will have a significant bearing on the trajectory that it ends up on. The more time you take beforehand to prepare yourself, and the more care you take with every major decision, the better the chances of your business surviving through that first year of vulnerability. Suffolk is a wonderful location to choose as your business’s home. If you are planning on launching your business here, make sure you check out what kind of support is available from the local authority.