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Business start-up tips

Our top tips for getting your company running

Learn key strategies to keep your new business on the right track.

You’ve done it. You’ve successfully launched your own business, and you may even have been running it for a few years – but how do you make sure your early triumphs turn into long-lasting successes?

James Goadby, owner of digital creative services provider All Interactive, highlights his 6 key areas1 to focus on.

Keep revisiting the business plan

Once your business has been running for a while, it’s quite natural for your business plan to need updating. James says that with the world constantly evolving, you need to keep evolving too.

‘Think about where you want to be next year, the number of employees you want, what kind of customers,’ he says. It’s also important to keep revising the business plan in order to maintain the correct trajectory.

‘Keep aspiring, keep lifting your sights,’ he says. ‘If you want to grow, you have to have a clear goal in your mind, rather than just slogging away.’

Keep an eye on expenditure

Making sure the finances add up is a major consideration for any business, remembering that as well as maximising turnover, it’s vital to maintain a tight grip on the outgoings too.

‘It’s very easy to say that now you’re bringing money in you’ll have a fancy office, but you’ve got to keep an eye on what’s going out,’ says James. ‘You can’t just get on with the work and ignore this.’

Always pay yourself first

Maintaining your motivation after the initial euphoria has died down is important, and part of that is to make sure you pay yourself first, James recommends.

‘You’re the driving force of your business, and the whole point of doing it is to feel rewarded,’ he says. ‘Otherwise you can get despondent and feel like you’re just working for other people.’

Get people in you can trust

When it comes to bringing new people into the business, there are many more aspects to consider – particularly if they’re ambitious themselves.

‘You’ve got to get people with the right attitude, but also those who are happy to be employees,’ says James. ‘You’re going to be trusting them a lot, and they’re going to be building up their own relationships with your customers.

‘But adding people can help the business mature. You need to act more professionally if there’s more than one of you. It changes how you look at the business.’

Don’t be afraid to delegate

Delegating effectively is essential, even if letting go of the reins is hard.

‘You’ve got to learn to put some responsibility on other people’s shoulders,’ says James. As well as spreading the workload, delegating can also help prevent burnout.

‘Pushing too hard can be counter-productive,’ he says. ‘You have to be able to switch off from the business.’

Think about cross-selling

Getting additional business from existing customers is a lot easier than finding new ones from scratch, says James, with contacts being ‘like gold dust’.

‘Always be in sales mode – companies need more than one thing so try to think about what else you can offer,’ he says. ‘If you can help them to solve a problem, you’re halfway there.’

For some businesses, it can be important to choose customers wisely. ‘Work out what percentage of turnover each customer brings in, and be ruthless about how much of your time they take,’ advises James. ‘Don’t be afraid to turn customers down – you’ve got to concentrate on the ones that bring in the most income.’

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1. The views expressed in this article are those of James Goadby. Barclays cannot accept any responsibility or liability for reliance by any person on this article or any of the information set out in it. Please seek independent professional advice before taking any steps.