Starting a New Business. My story so far …
Starting a new business can be an exhilarating experience, but not one taken lightly. Define Media has set sail this week, and in this tentative first week, I thought a blog about my decision and the lead up to it, would be an interesting read, and a good post for me to look back on … in another 6 months.
Making the Decision
For me the decision to start a new business was a slow and persistent one. I valued the opportunity of working in full time employment, with the stability and growth that offered, and enjoyed building up the design side of a predominantly technical business. After 5 and a half years, the hard part has been letting go of that … but the adventurer in me, the part that goes, ‘yeah, but what if …’ has pushed me on, and in the end the possibility of creating a new business, and the potential that has to be something very special and rewarding has tipped the scales.
Making a Plan
My reality check before committing was to write a Business Plan. For help with this I went to business link for an outline structure and then looked at the details of services, costs, competitors, target markets etc. and did a three year projection of expected income to give myself a good idea of what to expect. This really helped me think things through and look at both the potential and the risks involved.
Laying the Foundations
Fundamentally I know a business can only exist with clients, and having freelanced a lot in the past, in both the UK and Australia, I have a strong personal business network. I set to work letting them know my plans and arranging meetings either online, or at local venues. My overall objective is to start locally and expand out, including working for clients in Australia. With the opportunities we now have with technology, and concurrent video support horizons are ever expanding. I also registered Define Media with companies house and setup a domain name ready for a new shiny website and a marketing push.
Coming to networking events like OxonDigital opened my eyes to the amount of digital entrepreneurs that exist in Oxford, and the number of individuals who have taken the plunge and setup by themselves. I’ve really enjoyed talking to Amy, Dan, Christoph, Ali and number of other inspiring people. I see my company as very much depending on working with trusted individuals and am building up that network as we speak. (By the way … does anyone know any good Oxford based photographers to add to my list?)
Keeping overheads down will be key, especially at startup stage and some of the great online tools are real time savers; Harvest for project and time tracking, Crunch for online accounting (it costs but may be worth it), Dropbox for larger file transfers and Skype for video conferencing and screen share.
My intention is to start small and grow, integral to that will be the network of individuals whom I hope to work with. What I have thought to myself a few times is how much keeps coming back to trust, trust in my plan, trust in my support network and most of all trust and belief in myself.
Have you started your own business in the last year? What new business experiences can you share?