Bhavna Pandya Barratt.

“STARTING a new business can be daunting and lead to doubts. I started my business at the age of 30 and have managed to gather valuable advice. Starting your own business is a challenging, yet rewarding journey and here are 10 things every new startup should know.”

Love what you do: Running a business is being passionate about what you do. Having a fire in your belly is essential to make it work. You don’t have to love every aspect of your business and probably won’t (accounts, yuck!), but that desire needs to be really strong. You need to put in a lot of work and loving what you do will make you want to devote more time. Is it worth your time, is it worth the sacrifices, is it going to make you happy, does it excite you? If your answer is ‘no’, then dive into a new venture!

Have financial stability: The fact we all need money to keep going is sometimes forgotten when starting a new business and ploughing in lots of cash. You may also not make money from the new business for a while. Some new businesses only break even in the first year. Being employed while starting out will often provide financial stability and have money coming in while getting your business off the ground.

Build a good support network: Running a business can be lonely. You’re often working alone, for long hours. That is why having a good solid support network is essential. I set up Successful Superwomen for exactly this reason. You need someone to bounce ideas off, someone who will give you honest advice and listen. This could be a business bestie, an accountability partner or a group of entrepreneurs who are available as support. Finding a mentor or coach in your industry is also a way to make sure you have experienced guidance from someone who has been through the process.

Do lots of research: You can never do enough research. You need to be an industry expert in your field. You need to research all the pros and cons, competitors and products. This will be key when writing a business plan. You need to stay ahead in the game! Sometimes joining certain affiliations can help keep you informed of any new developments in the industry.

Plan the business: Have a good plan when starting a business. You need to understand where you want your business to be in the short and long term, to identify key areas of investment and training too. It is vital for any new business to have a business plan that will set out specific goals. It is crucial for budgeting, marketing and creating a strategy that makes a business successful. Thorough research will help build your business plan and better understand where you need to invest, and how.

Start advertising and getting clients: A mistake new businesses make is to wait. This includes waiting until you have a website. The most important thing is attracting clients and starting to work with them as soon as possible. This goes for running workshops too. That is why networking is so important. You can pick up new clients by word of mouth and networking.

Get online: Social media is vital in growing your business. You can find potential clients on Facebook and Instagram. Grow a following on social media platforms organically; you can share tips, advice, videos and tutorials. It’s important to give back to your audience, which includes selling a ‘solution’. So let people know what you do, why and how. Please do not ‘buy’ likes. There are some amazing social media groups that you can be a part of and can get business from too. So think about social media marketing as an important element.

Be humble: You’re not an expert on everything! It’s really easy to think we are good at everything from branding and designing to tax and accounts. Hire a professional. Aside from investing in your business, you need to value time and expertise. If you need to get some branding done, get a professional designer. It will be less costly in the long run. It’s also better to get legal business advice from experts instead of writing your own contracts.

It pays to be courteous: Your business represents you. Everything about you and the way you do business needs to convey to others that you are professional and that you have the basic know-how. Be kind, considerate and courteous to clients and those contacting you, but may not be clients. People are more likely to recommend you if you’re nice. So be nice and let your business thrive.

Community over competition: This is the ethos of my group Successful Superwomen. Don’t get caught up in who is doing what, their branding and how someone’s pricing differs from yours. Don’t have envy and just work hard. There is enough to go around. Your ideal client is out there and will find you. Collaborate, work in harmony and share resources where you can.

Mother of two, Bhavna Pandya-Barratt is the founder of Successful Superwomen, a network of 2500 female entrepreneurs. She is also an award-winning documentary wedding photographer and has over 10 years of experience in marketing, content creation, social media and management.

Visit: Facebook @Successfulsuperwomen and www.bhavnabarratt.com