Wednesday 20th Mar 2019
An increasing number of students are starting up their own business after graduating University, and with new markets continuously emerging, it’s important to make the most of the resources and support available to you to be sure of business growth. As a new business owner, you’ll be wearing lots of different hats; an accountant, HR manager, merchandiser, marketer, operations, finance, the list goes on. With a wealth of online platforms designed to help running a smaller business a little easier, we’ve taken a look at some key tips for graduates looking to start their own business in 2019.
With an increasing support such as websites and community pages designed to help you start your business, the competitor pool is continuously growing. Before you set ideas and goals in stone, research the industry you’re about to delve into. Find out who your competitors are, who your customers will be, what the smaller businesses do well and how the larger ones are succeeding. In detail, this research will help guide the basis of your new business and allow you to develop a deeper understanding of the industry you’ll be working in, what hurdles you can expect, when yearly peaks and troughs occur, and how to define your niche. Although as an entrepreneur strategy and finance might not be the most exciting things, they’re vital areas to get right for your business to succeed.
There are hundreds of options at your fingertips to make the admin, numbers and tech side of your business run smoothly. Cloud-based accounting software like Xero are designed for smaller businesses to make monotonous bookkeeping simple and pain-free. They often provide mobile invoicing, automatic reminders, online payments and automation of bank transactions all from an app, so that you have more time to spend on your business. Online organisations platforms such as Asana and Trello allow you to list tasks and projects, assign people, share documents and set deadlines which are all vital things to maintain momentum when setting up a business.
Nearly every business now has or needs a website. Visibility means an increase in potential customers and more chances to make money. A website is a great place to start with many sites such as Google Digital Garage or Squarespace providing tips and content on what information you should include on your website, and how to optimise it to increase visibility. Whilst you’re setting this up, it will be worth while to learn the basics of coding and keyword use. Knowing where to use header tags and which keywords will be popular for your products or services will help improve your search engine ranking. Another simple thing to do is register your business location on Google which is one of the best ways for customers to find cafes and shops on a map.
Mentors and Support
As a graduate, your industry and management experience is likely to be limited, and therefore making it worthwhile to meet with a mentor to gain valuable advice and contacts. Most Universities will have support networks in place designed to help you get your business off the ground. These might be initiatives, investments or facilities provided by the University, it’s alumni and partners.
Social media sites are a great place to start if you’re selling quick products and services. Platforms like Etsy, eBay, Facebook and Depop allow you to sell products and gain an understanding of the right pricing, how to manage customer queries, delivery and returns and invoicing. Whilst doing this, populate LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram with content to help widen the reach of conversation of your brand. LinkedIn is made for connecting with professionals and fellow business people; a great way to share updates of your business launch, growth, success and hurdles. Whilst maintaining a professional but friendly outlook, Twitter and Instagram shouldn’t be overlooked as they are also great talking points to spread the word about your new business venture.
As with any venture, it’s imperative to research, assess the hurdles and align values in order to be successful. The great thing about being a Graduate when setting up a business, is that there will be a wealth of people wanting to help you, from your University tutors and previous peers, to partnering organisations and local business communities. In 2019 it has never been easier to access technology resources and finance help, ensuring that your business continues on a path to success, whether you’re working from your bedroom, office or local coffee shop.