What advice I would give someone starting their own business today

TL/DR

Starting a business on your own can be a daunting prospect. Ali Dolphin Marketing Director of McGinn and Dolphin shares his tips on how to start and grow a successful business.

I started my digital marketing business in January 2019.

Going from being employed to self-employed is a massive step.

You forgo the luxuries of once having a steady stream of income to starting from zero, seem to work every hour of the day and end up chasing every penny from your clients for unpaid invoices.

I can relate to a lot of that.

A year into the journey of being self-employed I am proud to say it is still going strong and I am thoroughly enjoying being my own boss.

But January wasn’t when it was born.

Several months prior I was identifying the market, surveying who my main competitors were and how I could build bridges with other companies to expand my name and expand my service offering when I eventually started my business.

Here are my top 4 tips to help you start and grow your business in 2020.

Research

They say that proper planning prevents poor performance.

Doing this research was crucial not just to understand my competitors but also establish whether there was another company doing similar or more if there was a new product I could bring to the existing market.

I go by the saying that ‘where there is competition there is an opportunity’.

I have gained many new clients this way. I have approached many businesses; who are either not happy with their current supplier or have been let down by the current incumbent as they have failed to get back to them within reasonable timescales.

Freelancing

By testing the concept first you are reducing the risk when you actually start on your own.

Freelancing provides the luxuries of being employed but also the flexibility of not dealing with the day-day commitment of being ‘actually’ employed.

I was fortunate in my role prior to starting my own business to do a lot of freelance work. I used online platforms such as Fiverr and Upwork to experiment with my service and client offering; build testimonials and build rapport with my clients.

It was through these platforms, that it gave me the confidence to establish my own business in 2019.

Today I continue to work the relationships with people that helped me start my business but also continue to freelance as part of my main business which I thoroughly enjoy.

Systems

A system can build or break your business.

Having the right systems in place from the offset is important. Whether these are for your email, phone lines, CRM of invoicing is crucial to the lifeblood of your business.

In the early days of starting my business, I was attracted by the bright shiny lights of the next best thing, only to realise that actually what I had signed up for was a scaled-down version of the thing that I was looking for in the first place.

If you’re looking to start your own business, find systems which complement your existing business which also save you time.

Automate a-lot of the mundane, routine tasks as much as you can such as invoicing or bank reconciliations to allow you to concentrate on the things that you enjoy.

Networking

Having a website for your business is certainly important, however, I don’t think I would have got to meet the people I have and developed the opportunities that I have without proper networking.

Networking is not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re serious about meeting new faces and building life long relationships with people that value your business – then you need to get out and meet people.

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Have you started or thinking about starting a business in 2020?

If you’re looking to establish or start your own business in 2020 then I would love to hear from you.

At McGinn and Dolphin, we help new businesses with their online marketing by providing affordable marketing solutions, even if they think marketing is expensive or not necessary.

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