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10 Ways to Kickstart Your Business Idea in 2016

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10 Ways to Kickstart Your Business Idea in 2016

It’s never been a better time to start a business. Access to online environments and innovations such as smart devices and cloud technology mean that many entrepreneurs can set up on a shoestring and get things going without needing excessive start-up budgets. Add into the mix the wide availability of cloud-funding platforms and cheap marketing through social media and it’s easy to see the many opportunities that people don’t want to miss out on.

Here are just some ways to get your business idea off the ground if you have the entrepreneurial spirit this year.

1. Find the Right Support

You may have all the personal and physical tools in place, but you’re nowhere without friends. There’s no better time to start networking, building business associate relationships, and getting sound advice from people in your local area and online. The great news for startups is there’s plenty of guidance from other entrepreneurs who are happy to help out for free.

Take the opportunity to make solid, long-term contacts and research all areas of running a business. A good place to start is the Government’s own business portal.

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2. Organize Your Funds

While it can be cheap to set up a business nowadays, especially if you have the right idea, it’s a good thing to check what you can currently bring to the table. This should include any debts you have, which may need to be addressed first, and the amount of collateral you can use, if needed, to apply for a loan. If you are finding it difficult to make ends meet, you may well have more problems down the line when you start your business.

3. Come Up with the Right Idea

What may seem like a good idea over a couple of drinks in the local bar might not seem so bright in the cold light of day. Coming up with a good idea is imperative if you want to have any chance of success.

This includes researching how others are running businesses in a similar industry or niche. It also means being honest with yourself.

For a very successful business, the question of scalability is always an issue. In other words, when you come to grow, how easy and cheap is it going to be to carry that out? If you run a restaurant business, that might involve giving out franchises or spending money on new premises.

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Check out this article from The Guardian on how to find the right business idea.

4. Plan the Business

This is the crucial stage of any startup and the step that many entrepreneurs get wrong. It involves setting out clear stages and strategies, from getting financed, setting up websites, marketing, brand development, and deciding whether you need to have staff employed and where you are going to find them. As far as staff are concerned, there are plenty of options to hire freelancers who can do the initial jobs for you, though you may have to do some hard searching to find the right ones.

You also need to plan for a long-term future and not just look at the immediate setup of your business. There may be a lot to do but it’s important that you have your direction set for some time to come. Your plan should include how you are going to build capital and secure your business future.

You’ll need a strong business plan, especially if you are going to be heading to the bank for a loan or looking at crowdfunding. Check out this article from Start Up Donut for some sound advice.

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5. Check Yourself Online

If you have been working for a number of years, no doubt you have a persona online and you need to have a quick search to make sure it doesn’t have any negatives associated with it. Another thing to check, if you don’t want egg on your face, is the name of your new company and whether someone else has got there before you.

6. Register Your Business

One thing you are going to need to do is register your business. This used to be a complicated process, but with online sites such as www.companyformations247.co.uk, everything is reduced to simplicity and you can register everything within 3 hours. You need to do this in the UK if you have a limited company, and it includes registering with Companies House as well as designating directorial roles within your business.

7. Raise Money

Getting the finances together for a business idea is much more viable nowadays. You can use your home or other properties as collateral for a bank loan or choose to sell property and self-fund. Increasingly, many entrepreneurs are turning to crowdfunding to get their business ideas off the ground. If you have good presentation skills and a solid business plan, and can communicate how strong your idea is, then this a great way to get capital. You generally pitch your idea online and people from all over the world can help fund it in exchange for something you offer, for instance a free product or share of the company.

8. Develop Your Brand Online

If you are going to run a business nowadays, you need to develop your online brand and that means marketing. You should have looked into this in detail in the planning stage of your business idea, as it’s the key to success or failure.

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You need to build brand awareness, find a following, engage with customers, and use all the free and paid resources out there that help make your business thrive. This may include doing a lot of it yourself at first, but you can also engage with online marketing companies to help you choose the right options.

9. Test, Evaluate, Tweak, Test

While you had strong ideas for how your business would begin to develop, the chances are that things will not go completely according to plan. Even the most experienced entrepreneurs encounter hitches along the way. This is where you need to put in more hard yards. It’s a question of testing everything, evaluating it, tweaking, and then testing again to guide you in the right direction.

10. Plan for Growth

Once your business is up and running and you are satisfied with its progress, it’s time to take a look at that plan again and check whether you under or overestimated growth in the future. Now that you have a bit more experience in the real world, there will no doubt be new ideas that have to be incorporated to guarantee more success. You might need to think about getting other experts on board, or you could be looking to expand into profitable new markets.

There’s no doubt that running a new business requires a lot of good thought, strong planning, and putting in the effort, not to mention often working long hours. With some 50% of startups failing within the first five years, it may seem that you are swimming against the tide in the effort to succeed. If you have done the planning, come up with a great plan, and have the enthusiasm and energy to carry it forward, you stand a better chance of success than other ventures.

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Featured photo credit: 10 Ways to Kickstart Your Business Idea in 2016 via google.com

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Last Updated on August 25, 2021

Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

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Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

As a recruiter, I have met and interviewed hundreds of candidates who have no idea who they are.

Without a personal brand, candidates struggle to answer the question: “tell me about yourself—who are you?” They have no idea about who they are, what their strengths are, and how they can add value to the company. They present their CV’s believing that their CV is the key to their career success. In some ways, your CV still has its use. However, in today’s job market, you need more than a CV to stand out in a crowd.

According to Celinne Da Costa:[1]

“Personal brand is essentially your golden ticket to networking with the right people, getting hired for a dream job, or building an influential business.” She believes that “a strong personal brand allows you to stand out in an oversaturated marketplace by exposing desired audiences to your vision, skillset, and personality in a way that is strategically aligned with your career goals.”

A personal brand opens up your world to so many more career opportunities that you would never have been exposed to with just your CV.

What Is Your Personal Brand?

“Personal branding is how you distinctively market your uniqueness.” —Bernard Kelvin Clive

Today, the job market is very competitive and tough. Having a great CV will only let you go so far because everyone has a CV, but no one else has your distinct personal brand! It is your personal brand that differentiates you from everyone else and that is what people buy—you.

Your personal brand is your mark on the world. It is how people you interact with and the world see you. It is your legacy—it is more important than a business brand because your personal brand lasts forever.

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I have coached people who have very successful careers, and they come to me because they have suddenly found that they are not getting the opportunities or having the conversations that would them to their next role. They are having what I call a “career meltdown,” all because they have no personal brand.

A personal brand helps you become conscious of your differences and your uniqueness. It allows you to position yourself in a way that makes you stand out from the pack, especially among other potential job applicants.

Don’t get me wrong, having a great CV and a great LinkedIn profile is important. However, there are a few steps that you have to take to have a CV and LinkedIn profile that is aligned to who you are, the value you offer to the market, and the personal guarantee that you deliver results.

Building your personal brand is about strategically, creatively, and professionally presenting what makes you, you. Knowing who you are and the value you bring to the table enables you to be more informed, agile, and adaptable to the changing dynamic world of work. This is how you can avoid having a series of career meltdowns.

Your Personal Brand Is Essential for Your Career Success

In her article, Why Personal Branding Is More Important Than Ever, Caroline Castrillon outlines key reasons why a personal brand is essential for career success.

According to Castrillon,[2]

“One reason is that it is more popular for recruiters to use social media during the interview process. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees.”

The first thing I do as a recruiter when I want to check out a candidate or coaching client is to look them up on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Your digital footprint is the window that highlights to the world who you are. When you have no control over how you want to be seen, you are making a big mistake because you are leaving it up to someone else to make a judgment for you as to who you are.

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As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

In her book, Becoming, Michelle Obama writes about the importance of having a personal brand and her journey to defining her personal brand. She wrote that:

“if you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”

When you have a personal brand, you are in control. You know exactly what people will say about you when you leave the room.

The magic of a personal brand is that gives you control over how you want to be seen in the world. Your confidence and self-belief enable you to leverage opportunities and make informed decisions about your career and your future. You no longer experience the frustrations of a career meltdown or being at a crossroads not knowing what to do next with your career or your life. With a personal brand, you have focus, clarity, and a strategy to move forward toward future success.

Creating your personal brand does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of work and self-reflection. You will be expected to step outside of your comfort zone not once, but many times.

The good news is that the more time you spend outside of your comfort zone, the more you will like being there. Being outside of your comfort zone is where you can test the viability of and fine-tune your personal brand.

5 Key Steps to Creating Your Personal Brand

These five steps will help you create a personal brand that will deliver you the results you desire with your career and in life.

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1. Set Your Personal Goals

What is it that you want to do in the next five years? What will your future self be doing in the next five to ten years? What is important to you? If you can answer these questions, then you are on the right path. If not, then you have to start thinking about them.

2. Create Your Unique Value Proposition

Create your unique value proposition by asking yourself these four questions:

  1. What are your personality features? What benefit do you offer people?
  2. Who are you and why do people enjoy working with you?
  3. What do you do and what do people want you to do for them? How do you solve their problems?
  4. What makes you different from others like you?

The answers to these questions will give you the information you need to create your professional story, which is the key step to creating your personal brand.

3. Write Your Professional Story

Knowing who you are, what you want, and the unique value you offer is essential to you creating your professional story. People remember stories. Your personal story incorporates your value proposition and tells people who you are and what makes you unique. This is what people will remember about you.

4. Determine Which Platforms Will Support Your Personal Brand

Decide which social media accounts and online platforms will best represent your brand and allow you to share your voice. In a professional capacity, having a LinkedIn profile and a CV that reflects your brand is key to your positioning in relation to role opportunities. People will be connecting with you because they will like the story you are telling.

5. Become Recognized for Sharing Your Knowledge and Expertise

A great way for you to promote yourself is by sharing knowledge and helping others. This is where you prove you know your stuff and you gain exposure for doing so. You can do this through social media, writing, commenting, video, joining professional groups, networking, etc. Find your own style and uniqueness and use it to attract clients, the opportunities, or the jobs you desire.

The importance of having a personal brand is not going to go away. In fact, it is the only way where you can stand out and be unique in a complex changing world of work. If you don’t have a personal brand, someone will do it for you. If you let this happen, you have no control and you may not like the story they create.

Standing out from others takes time and investment. Most people cannot make the change by themselves, and this is where engaging a personal brand coach is a viable option to consider.

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As a personal brand coach, working with my clients to create their personal brand is my passion. I love the fact that we can work together to create a personal story that defines exactly what people will say when you leave the room.

Other People’s Stories

Listening to other people’s stories is a great way to learn. In his article, 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding, Rafael Dos Santos presents the best Ted Talks where speakers share their stories about the “why,” “what,” and “how” of personal branding.((GuidedPR: 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding))

Take some time out to listen to these speakers sharing their stories and thoughts about personal branding. You will definitely learn so much about how you can start your journey of defining yourself and taking control of your professional and personal life.

Your personal brand, without a doubt, is your secret weapon to your career success. As Michelle Obama said,

“your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”

So, go own your story. Go on the journey to create your personal brand that defines who you are, highlights your uniqueness, and the value you offer to the world.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

Reference

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