Have you spotted a gap in the market? Do you think you can solve a problem or provide a better service?

If you’re looking to start a small business from scratch or take your side hustle to the next level, find out how you can streamline your entrance to the world of business in this guide.

In this walkthrough, you’ll find out: 

  • What to sell
  • How to find customers
  • Business rules to follow
  • How to grow your business

A source of worry for new entrepreneurs is managing their finances, but Countingup can help no matter your industry. Read on to discover more about setting up a new business today. 

What to sell

Is your dream is opening a cute local café, selling bespoke furniture, or coding a new app? Having a clear idea of what you’re going to be selling is at the heart of any business.

If you’re reading this article, you might have some idea of what you’d like to do already. Many people find that hobbies or odd jobs can turn into a profitable business, but don’t worry if you don’t know yet. 

Consider what you know: are there things in your personal life that could improve? Can you offer a product or service that is:

  • Closer to your customers? 
  • Cheaper to buy?
  • Faster or more reliable?
  • Solves a problem they have?

Once you have the ‘what’, you’ll need to figure out the ‘how’. You’ll likely need to do some research for how you can achieve your business’s early needs: 

  • Who are your suppliers?
  • Do you need staff to help make your product or run your service?
  • Do you need to deliver any goods?
  • Do you need premises to operate from?
  • How much are you charging?

You may be familiar with these questions already. But are you aware of all your options now that you are looking to expand your side hustle? Using economies of scale, you might find that new suppliers will be open to your orders if they’re more substantial – saving you money.

How to find customers

Depending on your business idea, the size of your target market will differ. Having an idea of who is buying what you’re offering can help you gauge your expectations of sales and inform how big your business can be early on:

  • Too small, and you might not capture enough of the market to be variable long-term.
  • Too large, and you might waste money tied up in stock or expensive premises.

Spend time conducting market research. Knowing your potential customers allows you to meet their demands more accurately and adjust your prices accordingly. Key questions to learn will include:

  • How do your competitors operate currently? 
  • Can you improve on their service?
  • Are there reasons why competitors operate the way they do?
  • How do your customers shop, and how is this evolving?
  • Is there a new demographic you can target? How?

As an example, younger consumers are keener on sustainably sourced goods or buying from businesses that help fund other social enterprises. In comparison, older consumers may be more trusting of the existing businesses you compete with. 

With these differences in mind, you can begin to coordinate more impactful messaging, so your sales are more effective.

Business rules to follow

Running a business comes with some rules and regulations that may be specific to your industry. 

Businesses of types and sizes are required to keep accounting records, but the level of detail will differ depending on how you register your business. Find out how you might be impacted in our articles Sole Trader or Limited Company: How to Set Up Your Business, How to register as a Company, and How to register as a Sole Trader

You may also need licenses or permits and insurance to operate safely and legally. Similarly, you may be required to follow specific rules for selling and purchasing goods online or internationally, as well as the storage of any personal information.

If you’re setting up at home, read our guide on Starting a Business from Home. If you acquire business premises, you’ll have different responsibilities to follow.

How to grow your business

Growing your business involves not only your marketing strategy but how you handle your finances. Countingup can help with the finances part, but first, we’ll briefly talk about marketing.

Marketing your business

How you sell is just as important as what you sell and who you sell to. 

Many businesses find huge success in selling directly to consumers using websites or social media advertising, but this will be more effective for some businesses than others. Creating a realistic and targeted strategy for how you will achieve this will be crucial for your business’ success. Further down the line, if you launch new products or rebrand clever marketing will be needed again.

If your business is less public-facing, you may be better suited to business-to-business (B2B) environments or retail supply where you can better use wholesale or bulk selling tactics to grow. Knowing which advertising channels to use for each client base is important as you’ll need to attract the right attention.

Find out more about small business marketing using our other articles: What is Small Business Marketing? and How to Advertise Small Local Business. 

Managing your money

Managing your money well can help you invest in areas of growth, maximising your profits early on. 

If you’d like more information on managing your money, you can read our articles Why is Budgeting Important to Small Businesses and The Difference Between Gross and Net Profit. We’ve provided guides to understand key financial metrics and advice on budgeting to help you get started.

With Countingup, managing your money is easy. It’s the business current account that automates your financial admin so that you can focus on growing your business. Find out more here, or download the Countingup app from the App Store or Google Play Store and sign up for free.