Many people have budding ideas for great business ventures, but simply don’t know where to start, Piers Chead, CEO of The Formations Company, has some suggestions.

During these early and challenging stages of the entrepreneurial journey, it is vital to gain as much advice as possible, to avoid potentially costly mistakes. It is also important to remain positive; many entrepreneurs have innovative and unique ideas but struggle to transform them from a basic concept to a growing reality. Without having an open mind, some of the brightest new talent across the sectors could never be discovered. Just imagine what the world would be like if the likes of Richard Branson, Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg never managed to kick start their ideas? With this in mind, Piers Chead, CEO of The Formations Company gives his top tips for helping to get your business idea off the ground and on the road to success!

1: Aim High

Whilst it is healthy to think realistically about which goals are achievable, what is affordable, and what practically might happen for your business idea within the next 12-18 months, entrepreneurs should always remember to keep aiming high. Entrepreneurship isn’t an overnight thing and it is important to understand that each small step, however frustrating, is moving you closer towards your end goal. Often new business owners can get bogged down with specific details, such as the limitations of having a small-scale home based business, rather than a city office. In an article for The Guardian, Inventor and co-founder of Apple Inc., Steve Wozniack, said that “you have to work out of your home when you have no money”.[1] However, working from home does not have to be permanent, and home based businesses can create a stable foundation for further growth and expansion later down the line.

2: Partner Up

As the old saying goes, two minds are better than one: this mantra can come in very handy when building up a successful and effective enterprise. Partnering up with other local entrepreneurs can be extremely valuable to your business and there are many ways in which partnership arrangements can be put together. Becoming business partners doesn’t always have to involve a 50/50 split in which businesses legally share all profits. Businesses often arrange limited partnerships, too: a limited partnership is an agreement in which the general operations are governed by one or more persons, and funding is provided by other partners, who are then accountable for any losses. Getting to know other local entrepreneurs can also occur through networking, forming strategic alliances, and if a strong relationship is formed, bartering between businesses.

3: Secure Funding

Most entrepreneurs will agree that funding is crucial in the early stages of setting up any business. One way of gaining finance is to seek out an Angel Investor. Angel Investors offer financial support to new entrepreneurs, but their funding can be hard to find. Other ways include competitions and awards, which can be rare, but are priceless if won. The Formations Company Entrepreneur award was set up to finance new start-ups. Running in its second year, the award is open to all aspiring businesses. The winning entrant receives a £1,000 business grant and will have their limited company set up for free, as well as an invaluable start-up package. The package includes professional guidance and mentorship from Barclays, who are partners with The Formations Company Entrepreneur Award. Winning awards and competitions like this can be life-changing for entrepreneurs looking to get their foot in the door in the world of business.

4: Know Your Market

Before you launch of your business, it is crucial to carry out plenty of market research, especially if you are creating a consumer product. You should also look into soft launches too, which will give you an accurate idea of sales and criticism, before you invest your money into an expensive launch. Receiving feedback from a soft launch will also help you gather who your target consumer is, and who you need to market to. Advertising, marketing and communicating with other businesses and consumers will inevitably drive your business’ success rate. Advertising can be expensive for start-ups, but social media is a great way to promote your business; especially. Most social media platforms simply require a login, and no money, so online posts can be used as free PR for your business.

To conclude, first of all, be confident in your business idea and not to let negativity get in the way of your venture. Keep in touch with other local entrepreneurs, by doing this you will help eliminate rival competition and you will be in a better position to strike deals if necessary. Secure your business with enough funding for a stable future. And lastly, be knowledgeable of your market, and always promote and advertise your business.