Launching a business in today’s economy is challenging. With everything costing more, our savings not making an interest, and our income drastically reduced, it might seem like an impossible dream. But for many entrepreneurs, now is exactly the time to start a business. Whether your product or service saves time, money, or just brightens up peoples’ lives; some business start ups are actually thriving.
It doesn’t need to cost the Earth either. The Internet is littered with loads of great – and free – resources for start-ups of all kinds. Here we look at 7 of the best places you can get extra information, plan your expenses, and much more:
1. Business Planning Templates
Before you get started, you need a comprehensive business plan. But with little business know-how, writing an accurate plan can be challenging. These free templates (http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/templates/CT010357400.aspx?tl=2#ai:TC001017512|) from Microsoft Office can be downloaded onto your office or home computer.
These will make it quick and easy to plan your finances, and make sure you don’t miss a thing. Having an accurate business plan is essential when applying for funding, or approaching partners. This can also help you launch your start-up, knowing exactly what you need and how when you need it by.
Launching a business involves a certain level of financial commitment, and you’ll have to take into account costs you have never even considered. Even those with little financial prowess can estimate exactly how much they need, with an online cost calculator (http://www.startups.co.uk/start-up-costs-calculator.html).
While you’ll never be able to factor in any unforeseen circumstances, extra expenses, or loss of time; you can have a rough idea of your initial costs. Your business plan will help you work out everything you need to calculate the costs for. Together, these resources can help you secure the appropriate amount of funding for your start-up.
Smarta (http://www.smarta.com/) is tone of the best sites on the net, jam-packed with advice and guidance for start-ups. The likes of Richard Branson and Dragons Den star Theo Paphitis have lent their pearls of wisdom to the site, so you know it’s good.
The site is full of marketing, finance, legal, and planning advice. If you’re in the early stages of starting your own business, their resources are great to help you get off the ground and thrive. Once you’ve launched, the site continues to offer great support.
Imagine your stress and surprise to find that, after investing in printed work wear, business cards, and a logo, another company is already using the name you had chosen for your business? Or your dismay to find that the clever website URL you had concocted is already taken by someone else?
NameChk (http://namechk.com/) checks hundreds of websites to see if your chosen URL, username, or social media handle is taken. This makes it easy for you to reserve your place on these websites, even if your company isn’t ready to launch just yet. There are other similar domain checkers on the Internet, but this is one of the most comprehensive.
5. The Startup Lawyer
Before launching your own business, it is important to take sound, legal advice. The Startup Lawyer (http://startuplawyer.com/) is a great blog, containing a whole host of legal advice to make your life easier. It clears up some of the jargon you may encounter, and can help you make smart and informed decisions.
This advice however, is not specific to your company so should always be viewed as such. If you really can’t get your head around all the things thrown at you, make sure you consult a professional. They will be in a position to impart specific advice to your unique needs.
Social media is a great way to build connections with fellow businesses and your clients. LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/) is a great way to build relationships with other entrepreneurs, and make connections with industry authorities. Whether you’re looking for advice, guidance, or just to network LinkedIn is for you.
You should create a personal and a business account, as well as making the most of the groups and forums. Fellow start-ups are bound to be looking for the same answers as you, so make sure you join in the conversations and make yourself seen.
Dropbox (www.dropbox.com) is a file-sharing service that allows you, and everyone else in your business, to access things on the go. Photos, documents, videos and other files can be accessed quickly and easily from computers and mobile devices.
This is not only a quick and easy way to share files, it’s safe and secure too. You don’t have to worry about files getting lost on hard drives or USBs, as Dropbox looks after everything for you. You’ll be able to use this service on your Windows, Mac, iPhone, Blackberry, and Android.
Launching your own business takes time, money, and dedication. But it can run a lot smoother with the aid of the World Wide Web. There’s a whole host of free resources online, as well as information about other resources offline. Do your research, find out what works for you, and launch your start-up into huge success.
Outcomesuk.com is one of the UK’s leading executive search and selection recruiters. Visit their website to see how they can find you the right staff for your business.