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Key tips for first-time business leaders

Key tips for first-time business leaders

The fundamentals that will set entrepreneurs off on the right foot

64 per cent of the working-age population in the U.K. want to set up their own business. There are many reasons why people choose to start their own business: job dissatisfaction, wanting to become their own bosses or simply the fact that they haven’t found their calling just yet.

Whatever the reason, the price of becoming a business leader is much more than just the money you choose to invest. It can be exciting to be the driving force behind your own success but starting a business is very challenging and requires time and patience. If you’re ready to embark on this journey and put in the hard work and effort, here are five key tips to help get you started:

First things first, do your research

Find a market or a field that you are particularly interested in, start by doing your research and collecting data on what benefits you can bring and how you can satisfy customers in that area as well as also attract new ones.

It’s always good to be one step ahead, which is why you should always stay up to date with any relevant industry news. You can then begin to form a business plan covering your goals, techniques, sales strategy, financials and other factors.

There are several reasons why businesses fail shortly after they’ve just launched. All reasons stem back to two things: business leaders not being too invested in their own projects, or having a faulty business model. A common misconception is that many people think starting a business is the main difficulty; however, keeping the business running and profitable is the real challenge.

To prevent this, you must have a strong drive and a thorough understanding of the industry in order to succeed.

Know all the ins and outs

Determine the amount of funding required to start the business and how you will be able to capitalise on it. Even if you choose to eventually hire an accountant, knowing your financial position is crucial to avoid overspending. It helps you accurately evaluate the performance of your business in order to get a better understanding of where your business is headed.

How else are you going to determine any future business decisions if you can’t tell whether you can afford these changes or not?

Having an accountant you trust is also very important as they will have more experience in analysing and predicting any risks that you might face and will be able to advise you on how to be better prepared for any potential issues. But you should always stay on top of your company’s finances and bring yourself up to speed with the day-to-day activities of your business. Regular check-ins with your staff and asking if they have any complaints or recommendations improves agility and confidence that your company is running efficiently.

Don’t hesitate to embrace technology

Technology is ingrained in our everyday lives so naturally it only makes sense that businesses should embrace it where they can to stay ahead of the curve. When it comes to the topic of digital transformation, business leaders fear three things: change, waste of money, and the unknown.

Sure, there are many risks associated with running a business, but adopting new technology isn’t one. Why? Because if you resist and don’t keep up with the pace, you will stall and then eventually fail.

Be brave enough to embrace that change instead of fearing it. If hiring appropriate personnel is not an option right now, connect with tech-minded people, read blogs, or go to events and workshops that will help you learn more about how technology can improve your business.

Invest in your staff

Unfortunately, many people are not aware that running a business is different from just starting one. Setting up a business is so simple these days, anyone can open their own company. However, the only ones who prosper are those who know their business well.

Many “entrepreneurs” are money-motivated, meaning they only care about opening up a business that will make them easy money, so they don’t have to concern themselves with the smaller details. This approach doesn’t always work because it is not sustainable. You cannot sit back and expect your business to run itself.

Although you should trust your employees to do their jobs, you must still ensure you inspire them and invest in developing their skills in order to reach their full potential. Leadership status is earned, not claimed.

People don’t care about what you say but what you do. You need to become a role model embodying and demonstrating the very same values you want staff to uphold. You should create a safe culture enabling staff to trust you and to have honest and open conversations.

It’s vital you are confident in your vision and keep your employees engaged and driven by a common purpose.

Have strong business values

Company values drive the business forward. Having clear values enables you to ensure that all employees are working towards achieving common business goals. These are supported and guided by the fundamental principles you put in place. The values that drive my business are:

• Integrity. We will always tell the truth and be trustworthy
• Humility. We are not afraid to admit we are wrong
• Empathy. Put ourselves in the shoes of others and place other people ahead of ourselves
• Freedom. The freedom to try new things, be creative and the freedom to fail.

Success isn’t a straight line and it won’t happen overnight. Growth requires perseverance and continuous planning. Sure, you might make some mistakes along the way but that’s how you learn. Don’t just put all your effort into starting a business; ensure you run it, too. Keep your foot on the pedal and stay determined.

The author

Jeff Dewing is CEO of Cloudfm, and a number-one bestselling business author and podcaster.

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