Starting your first business can be scary and uncertain, but if it succeeds, being your own boss has some serious advantages. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is these days to create a simple company offering basic services – all you really need is a reliable computer and internet connection. However, there are a few things that you should bear in mind, if you’re going to walk this path.

1. Is your idea Must-have or nice-to-have?

Make sure there is a market for for the product or service you intend to sell, as opposed to you pushing just any idea out there and hoping that people will eventually buy. Do you have the same problem? Have you done your research? Ideally you want to start by having a chance to think it through thoroughly. Validate the idea and find out if people will be interested in buying it.

2. Risk management.

Risk management is crucial for any business or organisation, and can help even the smallest SMEs, to world leaders trying to protect their citizens. There are a lot of legal restrictions that you will have to abide by, and things become more complicated, once you start hiring new members of staff.

In all honesty, it’s easier to outsource risk management to an insurance company that handles this professionally. It’s well-worth doing, as it can safeguard your business from potential financial hits. You can find out more information online, but Lloyd’s guides are a good place to start.

3. Is there a gap in the market?

You don’t necessarily need to come up with a brand new product or service, but you need to ask yourself, what is it that you can offer customers – it needs to be a benefit that is different to your competitors’. You need to choose something that your customers need, rather than just want, to ensure that your business will take off more safely.

4. Involve your family and friends (you will need their support).

When starting up your first enterprise, your family and your friends will be your greatest allies. Not only will they need to work around your erratic time schedule, but you will also need their emotional support – starting up a business is hard work. They are also great for spreading the word about your company, and they can listen out for potential opportunities.

5. Know your customer.

Do you understand your customer and what they need? Conducting research into your clients and asking for feedback can really help cater your products/services to their demands. Give your customers a forum for expressing themselves, whether this is a feedback form, a comments box, or just ringing up for a friendly phone call.

6. Are you ready?

Are you mentally prepared for this? If your life is currently in turmoil, starting a business isn’t going to fill the gap; it’s only going to cause more stress and issues. Wait until you are in a good place and frame of mind. With 8 out of 10 businesses failing in the first few years, you need to bring your A-game to ensure that your company doesn’t become just another statistic.

7. Ask for help.

It’s likely that you know someone who can advise you on certain aspects of your business, whether that’s to help you keep your accounts organised, or how to get your company through the difficult growing stages. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help, even if that is just to a more experienced friend. You don’t have to know everything. Focus on your strengths and get others involved to take care of the things you are not good at.

8. Everything could take longer than you have planned.

All the plans you are making could fail. Every milestone could take longer than scheduled. You will run out of funds early than you have planned. You will definitely work hard at making your first business success. You will even put in more hours than you should. And you’re sometimes going to feel that you are not making as much headway as you want. It’s okay. That happens to almost every entrepreneur. If you truly believe in what you have set out to do, stick to it long enough to see it bear fruit.