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Top five tips for starting your own business - James Caan

When I first started out in business I had nothing more than a phone, a copy of the Yellow Pages and a broom cupboard sized office with no windows. Needless to say it was tough.

Whilst I don’t believe there is a magic formula to guarantee you success, there are
some common themes. Here are some of my top tips that I believe will help would-be entrepreneurs thinking of going into business for themselves:

1 Even before you get started you need to be brutally honest with yourself. You need to ask the question whether you possess the necessary qualities to be an entrepreneur. Is there real hunger, courage and self-belief in your personal make-up? If there is even a tiny grain of doubt then the answer is probably no.

2 Always have confidence in yourself and in your abilities but always be prepared to listen to other people’s advice and ideas. The only way you can do that is by talking to as many people as possible about your business and how you plan to reach your customers.

3 Always do your homework. Having confidence in yourself and what you are doing is great but blind faith can be a fatal mistake. Detailed research is vital and the more information and knowledge you have on your side the higher the chances are that you will enjoy the results. Talk to everyone, use the internet and take a close look at the opposition – it will all help in the long run.

4 Do you have a unique selling point that will bring the customers flocking to buy your product or service? There are very few truly original ideas out there but the very best business schemes are often a slight twist on what is already in the market-place. The real trick is to be faster, better, cheaper and more convenient than any of your competitors.

5 When you are starting out don’t get carried away with the things that are not central to the business proposition. Instead of worrying about decorating the office or choosing the company logo concentrate on landing that first sale or order. The rest will come in time but in the beginning the most important thing is to get the business up and running and the customers interested in what you have to offer them. When in doubt keep your overheads to a minimum but never come across as cheap.