How to Start Your Own Business - Our Advice
Over the past year we have taken Face Clothing UK from its long hiatus and relaunched it with new ambition. Along our journey so far, we have met a lot of like-minded, ambitious individuals who are also running their own companies and pushing for their dreams. Equally, we know a lot of people who have great ideas and want to start their own companies but don’t really know where to begin. We thought we would share some insight and advice with you based on the experience we have gathered over the past year.
1. Find something you’re passionate about.
It seems an obvious point, but it’s worth saying either way. Starting up a business is a lot of work and will take a lot of focus and drive. Creating a business out of something you have a strong passion for makes all the extra hours after 5 o’clock that much more worth it. There will no doubt be a lot of work and stress involved, especially in the initial stages of getting the ball rolling on your business and taking those first few steps, however working towards something that you’re already passionate about blurs the lines between work and hobby and keeps you motivated on your goals.
When we all decided to relaunch Face, we knew we were going to have to set aside a lot of time outside of work in order to meet deadlines to get the ball rolling again. Unsurprisingly, at times it was hard to keep motivated, especially as we all either study or work full time, but thankfully we do a good job at keeping each other driven and realise that hard work really does pay off!
2. Who are you working with?
Another big decision you will have to make when you are starting your own business is whether or not you’re going to do it solo or bring aboard other people to help you out. At Face there are currently three of us running things which makes sharing the workload a lot easier, however we do have our own set roles and responsibilities within the business.
If you do decide to start up your own business with some of your friends, make sure that they are all as equally invested into making the business a success as you are, so as to avoid any arguments or tensions brewing – a business relationship is very different to a friendship! Luckily, we at Face are all super close and manage to maintain a great friendship whilst keeping the business side of things separated pretty well.
If you do choose to go it alone however, make sure you know what you are signing up for as starting your own business takes a lot of effort and time. Surround yourself with a good support system, remember to take time off and don’t pressure yourself too much or else you might just end up giving up on your business goals!
3. Is there a market for what you’re doing?
This point can’t be stressed enough - before starting anything, you need to figure out if there is a market for what you’re trying to do. You could have the greatest idea ever but if no one needs it then you’re not going to get anywhere – like trying to sell Arctic expedition coats to Californians. The best way to get an idea for if there’s a market for your business is by conducting market research. Its now easier than ever to conduct quick polls on apps like Instagram to get you feedback from your target market. There is also an array of free questionnaire websites that allow you to create custom questions with multiple answers to get you more than a yes/no answer on what your customers want, such as Survey Monkey. But don’t stop there, go out and ask people you’ve never met for their feedback. People that are not currently engaging with your company are the ones you want to attract, so it’s crucial to get their input as well. Be sure to confirm that they’re your target market first though!
4. What can you bring that’s unique?
You need to pinpoint what you’re bringing to the table that’s fresh and what will be your brands unique selling point. That doesn’t mean a completely new invention that Elon Musk would be proud of, but what spin can you put on something that would make it unique. It may be where you take inspiration from or a certain value your business adheres to. These things make you and your business idea unique. These are the things that makes a customer choose you over someone else. It’s important to have these carved in stone inside your own head first.
There’s no reason why you can’t start out on your own with whatever you have in your pocket and there’s no reason why you can’t build that in to a successful business. But there are a lot of funding possibilities out there looking to be taken advantage of. Most universities offer this kind of funding through their business schools, and that’s what we applied for. Through the ‘Be Inspired’ program at Staffordshire University, we managed to secure start up funding which has enabled us to get our company up and running with our first collection and obtain the necessary equipment to grow our business in the future. The program we are a part of is just one of hundreds - all it takes is a bit of investigation and asking of the right questions. For example, for the creatives among you, Arts Council England are always looking for art driven ventures to fund. Additionally, with the current Brexit situation, grants and funding for exporting companies is likely to become a hot topic and something to keep an eye out for, for those of you that are thinking big!
This one cannot be stressed enough. If you want something badly enough, it will come. Don’t be disheartened if something doesn’t come to you the first time. Try again, show willingness and be persistent.
7. Just go for it!
Sometimes just going for it and taking the plunge to start doing something you love is the scariest thing ever! Take it from us – we were all definitely scared before relaunching Face, our launch night was so scary in fact that we were all running around like headless chickens in the days and hours leading up to the event, making sure everything was perfect. Luckily, it was a huge success - we had a great turnout and we have now almost sold out of our first collection!
There is no better feeling than working so hard at something you love and seeing others love it too. Naturally though, not everything always works out for the best and linking to the point above, it is so important to be persistent and never give up as you never know just how far away you are from success! If you are wanting to start your own venture, just go for it and we promise you, you will never look back!
We hope you found this post useful or interesting - let us know if you like these kinds of posts and we will try to do more in the future! Thank you for your support,
Joe, Jess and Cal x