The UK economy is starting to show slow signs of recovery, however the effects of the mass redundancy and public sector cuts in the last few years can still be seen in the unemployment statistics. The highest unemployment rate in two decades peaked at 2.7 million in 2007, and has since fallen slightly to 2.5 million in June 2013.
In short, getting a job is still incredibly difficult for many people in the UK. The government is not helping much by reducing benefit payments and reclassifying claimants in an attempt to â€˜force people back into workâ€™. The truth is that with 503,000 jobs available (Feb to April 2003) there are 2 million people in the UK with no chance of getting a job any time soon.
In the jobs market, it is all doom and gloom, and donâ€™t expect the government to help much. However, with many new innovative and affordable services now available on the web, it is easier than ever to start your own business.
We deal with small business website design customers every day who are making a success from businesses started on a shoestring budget. By taking advantage of free and cost effective tools, it has been proven many times over that it is absolutely possible to turn a profit with not much more than a few hundred pounds and a lot of hard work.
Obviously there are many factors to consider, but here are the key elements that we believe a small business needs to get started:
1. An original idea, or a good knowledge of an existing market
There is a popular misconception that you need an amazing idea to start a successful business. This is not true, and â€˜light bulb momentsâ€™ can actually cause you more pain than gain. With a completely new concept, you have to spend a lot of time selling the idea to people who are not already looking for it, which can be very difficult and time consuming.
Consider the people we regularly see on Dragon’s Den who are Â£50,000 deep into an idea that everyone else can see has little chance of success. It makes good TV but it would be devastating if this happened to you. It wont make much difference if you save money on an affordable website design if you spend thousands developing a product which doesnâ€™t work.
Another easier option is to enter a proven existing market, and just offer something that is different or better than the options currently available. Obviously you need to have some prior experience or knowledge of the industry in order to make this work, but if the market already exists, your job is so much easier.
2. Insight and Market Research
The Internet contains 3.5 billion pages, most of which is useful and completely free. It is possible to comprehensively research almost any business sector without spending any money if you know what to look for.
Simply use the search engines to find evidence that supports your business idea, and if you canâ€™t, then find another idea.
3. A Marketing Plan
It doesnâ€™t matter how good an idea is, if you donâ€™t spend time marketing your business, it will not be around for long. Reaching and selling to customers should be taken as seriously as delivering a quality product or service. Without one you wont have the other.
Use a â€˜marketing mixâ€™ of as many different methods as possible. This will mean that you are not relying too heavily on one tactic in case something out of your control changes.
Free marketing methods: business directories (Ask, Thomson etc), business networking websites and events, social media, blogging, manual SEO, manual PR, email and phone prospecting, using existing contacts, establishing partnerships with non-competitive companies in the same market.
Low budget marketing methods: Google AdWords advertising, Facebook advertising, professional PR distribution, professional SEO, conferences and exhibitions.
4. A Small but well Researched Budget
Youâ€™ve got your idea, your research that proves beyond reasonable doubt that it is worth pursuing, so how much money do you need to get started? Here is an estimate of a minimum investment needed in a new business, obviously this can vary greatly based on the business, but the following can be used as a general estimate:
- Setup fees: Ltd company registration – Â£50
- Affordable web design (including domain & branded email) – Â£350
- Graphic design (logo, business cards) – Â£60
- Launch marketing budget – Â£500
TOTAL – Â£960
You can see that for less than Â£1,000 it is possible create the essential elements of a business, and kick-start your project with a respectable Â£500 to spend on marketing.
Rosco Digital Media can help you with the website and graphic design elements on this list, and the costs above are realistic indications of our prices. Please get in touch for more information about how our low cost website design service can help you get started with your new business today.