In the current climate it is tough for young people to get a job. More and more people are using the opportunity to start out in business.
We asked a couple of seasoned campaigners for their tips for starting in business.
Charlie Mullins shares his top tips for young people starting out:
1. Go for it heart and soul
I am living proof that anyone can successfully start and grow a business, no matter what their background. I was never really interested in school and don’t have a qualification to my name, but I did throw everything into my one passion – plumbing. So my one piece of advice to any young person starting out is that you have to go for it 100%. You’ll get out of it what you put in and its success will rest in your hands.
2. Aim for the top
I never had money as my main goal, but I did aim to be the best in my field. I wanted to be the top plumber and to be the best. So I have always been very particular about how things are done and about the service that my customers receive. And I think this focus has played a key role in the success of Pimlico Plumbers. We stand out for being professional and because we have developed a strong reputation. Set out to make your business the leader in its field. Think about the service you are to provide, how you will deliver it, what expectations you will have of staff. Customers need to know what they will get, and this must be consistent.
3. Uni vs apprenticeships
If university is not for you then don’t sweat it. A university education is not the be-all-and-end-all as far as getting on in business is concerned. Plenty of the most successful entrepreneurs never went to university. There are now loads of training and apprenticeship opportunities out there, and learning on the job like I did will show you a business from the ground upwards.
4. Talk to people
Get out and about and talk to people. You’ll be amazed how helpful people can be when you’re starting out. With the internet, you also have bags of info available at your fingertips, making reading up on all the issues around starting a business even easier. Currently there are also a number of free courses available for entrepreneurs, which are run by the HMRC and Business Link.
Charlie Mullins is managing director Pimlico Plumbers (www.pimlicoplumbers.com)
5. Do your research
Even large companies have to keep asking their customers questions to find out about them and what they want and need. Don’t go in to your business venture blind. Take your time to understand where the need is, who your customers are and what you’re going to offer them. Ask your friends and family their opinion – they should be brutally honest with you.
6. Get expert advice
Take advantage of the experts and advice around you, as well as that of potential suppliers and customers. Just like when you’re starting a new job, if you don’t know something then just ask. Make full use of the people and resources available to you.
7. Find suppliers you trust
The success of your business relies on your reputation to be able to deliver what your customers want, when they want it. Take your time to find not only good quality and good value but also reliability. If your suppliers let you down then you’re going to be letting your customers down – and your reputation will crumble, leaving you with a failing business.
8. Be organised and motivated to push your business further
After creating your business online, the work simply doesn’t stop there. You need to have marketing ideas; ways to get people to visit your site, promotions to keep them coming back and keep them interested. Excellent communication can really help you push your business along – make sure you keep a database of your customers so you can contact them regularly with product updates and promotions.
9. Enjoy it
You don’t want to be doing something you don’t particularly like. Think about your hobbies and what you like doing in your spare time – maybe you’re a photographer and you could sell some photography equipment in your spare time.
Olivier Chameyrat is the MD of PIXmania (www.pixmania-pro.co.uk)
Do you have any other advice for budding entrepreneurs? Please leave your ideas in the comments box below.