Running a startup can be hugely rewarding, but it can also be hard work. As a result, there may be times when you’re unsure of how to move forward with the business. In these situations, you might need some advice on the best way to achieve success.

This article will provide a few pieces of business startup advice for self-employed individuals. We’ll look at everything from setting goals to SWOT analysis. The full list of topics we’ll cover includes:

  • Remember your business plan
  • Use SWOT analysis
  • Identify your target market
  • Set yourself some goals
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help
  • Set up a business account

Remember your business plan

Your business plan might include sections that demonstrate the quality of your business to new investors or help you apply for various government grants. Above all, though, your business plan should include a guideline on how to grow your business. 

When you’re unsure of the best way to achieve success with your startup, consult your business plan. Although you may have made changes to it along the way, it’s still a good source of information and ideas for achieving success.

This is especially true if you’ve included detailed sections on financial planning. With a solid financial plan, you’ll better understand which departments of your startup you should invest in and how much cash to set aside for any budgets you create.

Use SWOT analysis

SWOT analysis is a way of thinking about different interior and exterior factors that might affect your business. SWOT is an acronym and stands for:

  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses 
  • Opportunities
  • Threats

A startup owner can use SWOT analysis to identify what their business is good at (strengths) and bad at (weaknesses). This helps you make sound business decisions, as you’ll know which areas of your company you need to improve in and which you can rely on. 

Opportunities and threats are things outside your company that can impact the startup. For example, competing businesses might become threats if they’re stealing a significant number of your potential customers. On the other hand, a new contact might be a great opportunity if they have a lot of business experience, as they can provide advice and direction during tough times. 

Identify your target market 

Your target market is the group of people most likely to be interested in buying your product or service. It’s wise to spend some time identifying your target market, as knowing who is most likely to buy your product helps immensely with adjusting your advertising and product design.

There are several ways to identify your target market, but all of them involve considerable research. A good starting point is to ask yourself a few questions:

  • What makes my product valuable to my customers?
  • What’s the typical background of my customers?
  • What are the hobbies and interests of my customers?

Remember to use tools like customer surveys and website analytics to get accurate answers to these questions. Once you have answers, you’ll be able to start putting together a picture of your target market.

Set yourself some goals

Setting goals is an excellent idea for a startup, as it helps provide direction if you’re struggling to make decisions. The goals you set should align with your overall business model. For instance, if you’re a retail business, you may want to create some sales goals. If your sales are great but you want to find other business opportunities, set yourself the goal of making more business contacts.

Something to keep in mind when setting yourself goals is that you also need to think up a few objectives to go along with them. Although people often use the two terms interchangeably, there is a difference between goals and objectives

A goal is usually something you pursue over a long time and can sometimes be quite vague and open-ended. For example, increasing your overall sales would be a goal. An objective is related to the goal but is much more specific. They also usually have a time limit attached. As part of your goal to increase sales, you might set yourself an objective to make 200 sales by the end of the month.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

One of the reasons networking is so important for small businesses is that new contacts can be incredibly valuable for a startup. If you’re struggling to run your company, it’s good to have contacts you can rely on for assistance and advice.

Although asking for help is usually a good idea, it relies on you having a decent network of contacts. When you’re expanding your network, try to build a relationship with people who have a lot of business experience. These individuals will be more useful to have around if you’re trying to improve and develop your startup.

As well as contacts, don’t hesitate to ask for help from other professionals within your industry. If you need to consult an accountant or business advisor on a certain topic, feel free to do so. These people will have specialised knowledge that you might not otherwise have access to, so consulting them can be a very educational experience.

Sign up for a business account

Financial management can be stressful and time-consuming when running a startup, as you might not have much experience with bookkeeping. A good way to make things easier is to sign up for a business account like Countingup. 

Countingup is the business current account and accounting app that allows you to manage all your financial data in one place. With features like automatic expense categorisation, invoicing on the go, receipt capture tools, tax estimates, and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances wherever you are. 

You can also instantly share your bookkeeping with your accountant without worrying about duplication errors, data lags, or inaccuracies.

Over 40,000 business owners trust Countingup to make their financial management seamless, simple, and straightforward. Click here to find out more and start your three-month free trial today.