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You'll need a solid strategy in this difficult economic climate. Good job serial entrepreneur Darshana Ubl knows all about launching a business or two
If launching a business is in your current plans, don’t dip a single toe in the entrepreneurial water until you’ve done your homework.
You may have a genius business idea, but a staggering sixty per cent of the 660,000 new companies registered in the UK every year fail within the first three years. In order to make sure you’re among the success stories you can’t just live on a wing and a prayer. Keep a couple of irons in the fire, like your day job or another income stream, while you’re building up a client base.
Since 2011, Darshana Ubl has founded a number of profitable businesses, including the award-winning adventure travel experience Verve Rally. Earlier this year Ubl co-founded the silk bed linen and accessories company Mayfair Silk.
‘A lot of people launch start-up businesses without ensuring their concept is solid and this is why they fail. Even getting investment is no guarantee of success if you haven’t researched your market, established aims and worked out the price points.’
All good starting points, and Ubl’s not stopping there. Now the successful businesswoman is revealing all the key launching-a-business advice she would have loved to receive when she was starting out.
Launching a business – 5 key strategies
1. Define your business
Are you selling a product or a service? If it’s a product, will it be a boutique company or will you scale it up to sell at volume? Whichever, you need make sure your business model is realistic, working out the logistics of satisfying your customers while making a living and paying your overheads.
If it’s a service, people are paying for your time and skillset so do your market research and get your pricing right, working out how much time you have to spend on pitching for business and on the work itself.
Entrepreneur Darshana Ubl
2. Make sure your business is ‘hot’
Is your business concept completely unique and unheard of? Is there a gap in the market? If yes, you need to think about why it’s not been done before. Is it because it’s not what the market needs or because there’s a barrier to entry? Who are your nearest competitors and how will you stand out?
For instance, with MayfairSilk, we’ve created the finest 100% mulberry silk pillowcases made from 25 momme silk, the highest grade in the market. It’s also anti-bacterial, biodegradable and sustainably produced to unique designs. Find a USP (unique selling point) so people will want to try what you’re selling because they’ve not seen it before.
3. See your customer as boss
Running a business can be hard and when you’re feeling down you have to find it within you to pick yourself up. But whether you’re having a good day or bad, it’s not about you but your customers. What’s in it for them? After years of working for other people I thought being my own boss would mean more freedom, but actually you need to be constantly finding ways to refine and improve your products or services and building trust and loyalty. Recognising that helps you succeed.
4. Build a crack squad
Hate marketing? Hopeless at social media? Not good with spreadsheets? Find someone who can do it for you. Trying to do everything yourself is not realistic – it’s better to play to your strengths. Understand who you are and what you’re good at while building a team around you to compliment your skills.
Outsource the aspects of your business that are too time consuming or difficult, knowing that paying for expertise will help your business become more successful in the long run.
5. Set your own goals
Detach your ego from your business so the ups and downs don’t feel quite so personal and demoralising. Understand that when you are starting a business it will take more work than you may have anticipated but keep pushing forward day by day. Remind yourself that you are creating something new and derive a sense of satisfaction from this creation process.
Got FOMO? Think everyone is doing bigger and better than you? Ignore the buzz and focus on what you are doing. If you have passion and determination this will sustain you through the tough times to keep your eyes fixed on the prize.