To many, the prospect of taking the plunge and starting a new business is daunting.

The idea of leaving your full-time role behind and sacrificing a salary can seem frightening, regardless of how bright the long-term future could be.

Thousands of people across Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield have made the move into self-employment in recent years, with many more weighing up their options following the recent uncertainties caused by Coronavirus.

If you’re considering starting a new business, then you may find our ten top tips a useful resource:

1. Seek help from those close to you

If you have a family to think about, then involving them in the decision to go it alone is important. Your home atmosphere should be very supportive, particularly in the early stages. Your family could also be useful as a sounding board, helping out with the odd task or providing feedback or finance.


2. Figure out your weaknesses

Few of us should have any difficult identifying our strengths, but it takes a little more inward thinking to pin-point our weaknesses. Be honest with yourself, but also be realistic. Identifying your weakness will help you to recognise what you are good at, and which areas you will need to find someone who can do a better job than you.


3. Get your product or service right

Is your product or service a must-have for your target customer? Will people need what you’re selling enough to want to buy it? If the answer to either of these questions is ‘no’ then it may be time to go back to the drawing board.


4. Don’t try to change the world straight away

It’s great to have bold ambitions of disrupting the industry, but most of the time it’s enough to simply offer something that people need. Besides, being the first to sell something is not always best, as you have to educate a market and convince them that they need it. Never be put off by somebody else already doing what you’re doing, and instead think about how you can do it differently.


5. Walk before you can run

On that same theme, and without wanting to hamper anybody’s big plans, manage your expectations for your first months in business. Don’t be afraid to dip your toe into the marketplace before making a major investment. You can always continue to work your full-time job while you are starting up, using spare time to carry out research.


6. Know your target market inside out

You’ll get to learn lots about your customers as you go, and it’s hard to understand what they’ll need before you get going. But by conducting research you can gain a little insight that will help inform the products you sell and the way you sell them. Look at what your competitors are doing and how they have developed their own offerings over time.


7. Reach out to a mentor

Setting up a new business can feel like a lonely experience, but it need not be. Qualified business coaches can provide advice, while former colleagues and managers are a great resource for advice. Consider who you’d include as a reference if you were applying for a full-time job and instead give them a call to get their perspective on your plans.


8. Don’t make assumptions

You will hopefully be heading into the marketplace with an idea of what makes your customers tick, but try to supplement your own knowledge with real data and evidence. It’s tempting to make assumptions about your target audience based on anecdotal evidence, but your approach should be informed by fact and figures.


9. Set concise goals

The most exciting thing about setting up your own business, beyond the freedom it grants you, is the potential for the future, and it’s easy to get carried away with big dreams of world domination. However, it’s much wiser to set a small number of short-term targets and reassess those ambitions on a regular basis.


10. Understand your obligations

Although self-employment can mean freedom from paperwork and meetings for some, there are several HMRC requirements you must meet to begin trading. Spend some studying what you need to get going and seek out assistance if you need it. Cooper Accounting provides a range of services for new businesses just starting out. Get in touch to set up an informal chat!