Written by Entrepreneur and growth specialist Matthew Hayes, the MD of Champions UK plc
OF all the statistics I read in business, one that makes my heart sink the most is the fact that, on average, almost 20 per cent fail in the first year.
That’s one in five: and equates to tens of thousands across the UK.
These businesses won’t necessarily be bad businesses. They could have amazing staff. They might well be selling a product or a service people love. They could be generating high levels of revenue.
But they will be doing something which is fundamentally wrong and which is setting themselves up for failure.
By the way, failure shouldn’t always be seen as a negative. As some of the most successful entrepreneurs have shown, failure can happen and often, the lessons learned from a failed business will help pave the way to success in the future.
However, with the current economic climate anyone setting up in business will pay a high price if a new business fails quickly after launch.
With this in mind, here are five steps that I’d advise anyone who is thinking of setting up should consider.
- Business Plan – you need a robust and unique business plan from day one, something that works and something that is different from what others are doing. It’s so key to have a clearly defined plan, product and culture. You should regularly refer to this plan and make sure everything you do has this plan at the heart of it. It’s rarely a good idea to join a busy marketplace or industry and just do the same thing as everyone else with a generic philosophy. You need to have something unique to differentiate you from the rest of the market and make you valuable. You need a high level of focus and consistency across the board, but this is particularly vital when implementing your business plan and vision.
- Differentiation – As I’ve mentioned, differentiation is vital, and entering a market with fierce competition requires very close attention to be paid to your differentiation techniques. Think about these questions: what makes your business unique? Why should customers buy from your brand over competitors? Having a strong USP in place will add value to your brand; however, if you do not promote this USP effectively, your business will not attain those sought-after results. Through clear and consistent messaging that highlights your USP in your marketing strategy, and with frequent outreach to create a constant stream of recognition for your brand, your business will be set up to achieve success.
- Investment market – The private investment market is very active right now and open for opportunity, particularly in venture capital and private equity. There’s a great chance right now to look for investment. When you’re looking for investment opportunities, it’s important to remember you can’t take it lightly. When dealing with high-level financial professionals you need a robust plan, proof of concept, due diligence, unique points of difference and most importantly a plan for what you need financially in the next 3-5 years. Top level investors require a certain level of sophistication and professionalism when looking for an investment opportunity.
- Data and insights – Businesses are built around people, and people are often illogical. Don’t ignore data and insights but be aware that you can drown yourself in them. If they affirm what you’re doing or vice versa that’s great to know, but in business it’s good to use gut instinct and get behind an idea which you genuinely believe in. If you make it your mission to make an idea work that you fully believe in, you can do it, even if one statistic suggests it’s not the perfect idea. If you’re genuinely passionate in an idea and have a real vision for it, you can make it a success. Your success is based on your own determination, the main barriers you face in life is ones you put in front of yourself. There’s a lot of very successful businesses that people or data might have suggested it was a bad idea to begin with.
- Expert help – Focus on what you can do well personally and find experts in each area to handle everything else. You can only do so much, and you can’t be the best at everything. Whether you outsource or hire people for internal roles, you need a strong team around you that is ready to handle any area of work needed for your business.
Champions UK plc is the expert growth partner that can drive your start up to success through its full-service suite and holistic approach to your business’ needs. You can Get in touch if you’re ready to take your business growth to the next level and a member of the team will be on hand to discuss your vision and create a bespoke plan with your desired deliverables.