Over the course of recurring lockdowns, the British economy has undergone a quiet realignment. To an unprecedented degree, we’re now a nation of small business owners, with hundreds of thousands of us having taken the opportunity to branch out into new side-hustles while on furlough. Research indicates that around 85,000 more businesses came to be in 2020 relative to 2019 – which has helped to limit the economic contraction caused by repeated lockdowns. The tip of the spike arrived in late summer, with nearly 60,000 of the new companies being established between June and August.
So, if you’ve got a hobby, and you’re good at it, then it might be a good time for you to make a switch. But how, exactly, should you go about doing so?
Form a business plan
Any advice concerning how to start a business of any kind is going to centre around a business plan. This is a fundamental document which outlines what your business is going to try to achieve, and how it’s going to go about doing so.
Just because your business is a side-hustle doesn’t meant that it won’t benefit from a business plan. It’s this document that will provide you with guidance along every step of the way, and that’ll allow you to measure your progress (or lack of progress). It’ll also demonstrate to potential investors that the business is soundly constructed, should you later wish to sell it.
A business plan, of course, isn’t something that you write just once – you’ll make regular course-corrections throughout the life of the business.
Do your market research
Before getting started, you need to make sure that you’ve identified a need, and that you can fulfil that need. That means researching demand, and the competition. Your findings should be incorporated into your business plan. If you’re going to be making a big investment at the outset, then you’ll want to spend accordingly more energy on your market research. You might even get a professional outside agency to take care of it on your behalf.
Stop treating it like a hobby
If your business is going to be a success, then you can’t afford to continue treating it like a hobby. Try to make sure that you’re keeping on top of the administrative or bookkeeping side of things, and realise that your creative success or fulfilment isn’t the whole story any longer – you also need to be able to make money!
Get the right equipment
Substandard tools will hold you back, even in professions where it seems that equipment doesn’t matter. For example, if you’re branching into commodity trading, then making sure that the platform you’re using is reliable and supportive could make the difference between profit and ruin.