Starting your own business is often a learn as you go process, and a daunting one at that. There is a lot to think about and many different paths that you could follow. One thing for certain, making smarter decisions early on often means your company has a better chance of following the path to success.

Elevator, a social enterprise which supports start-ups in Scotland through its delivery of Business Gateway and a range of other programmes for entrepreneurs, is dedicated to supporting entrepreneurial spirit. We spoke to Kirstie McLaughlin, Growth Start Up Business Adviser and Team Leader, who provides the perfect formula for kick starting your dream, turning it into a reality.

  • Be passionate! One of the most important ingredients in a successful business idea is passion. Passion will consistently drive you to improve your process, helping your business to grow and benefit your relationship with potential customers. If they know you’re excited about your brand or product, then there is a higher chance they will share your enthusiasm!
  • Conduct thorough market research. It is vital that you understand your market, map out the full persona of your ideal customer and obtain knowledge of your competitors. Rather than starting your idea with what to sell, think about what it will solve. It is a lot easier to gain a solid customer base when your business is fixing a problem; your business should fill a hole in your chosen market.
  • Practise pitching your business. It can be intimidating to share your business with the world, especially when you’re new. Through practise and preparation, you will be able to make the best possible first impression when explaining your business in a concise but effective manner, no matter your surroundings. You never know who could be listening.
  • Network, network, network. The benefits of networking as an entrepreneur is critical to your development and personal growth. There is a plethora of opportunities throughout Aberdeen City and Shire, so take the time to find the style of networking that suits you best. You will have the chance to learn from others, tell individuals about your business, and potentially attain new clients.
  • Stress test your business forecasts. Unfortunately, quite often costs can spiral in business and it can take longer for your business to launch than initially expected. Hence, you must be realistic about how much you need financially from the business. It seems the most obvious step but is often over looked.
  • Set long-term business goals. Really think about the future of your business, what your company is striving to accomplish, and how you plan to grow. Set Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound (SMART) goals and refer to them on a regular basis. Not only will this help keep you on the path to success, but it will also help with pinpointing future goals. Also, before you launch, really take the time to focus on the legal set up, the branding of your business, having the right team on board, and your plan for marketing your business.
  • Seek out a mentor and support network. It is no secret that the journey of an entrepreneur can be lonely at times. So, it is important to have someone by your side who you can turn to for constructive and encouraging feedback and to help turn challenges into opportunities. Also, don’t ignore the power of advice from experts, they know first-hand what does and doesn’t work. Smart entrepreneurs learn from the mistakes other business owners have made.
  • Determine your strengths and weaknesses. Embrace what you are good at, and shout about it! Likewise, if there is an area of business you are struggling with, seek professional advice to make your life easier.

If you are ready to turn your dream into a reality, or need support in bolstering your current business, contact a member of the Elevator and Business Gateway team today to find out how we can help you.

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