If you are a former journalist and looking to move into PR, marketing, or a wider communications role by starting up your own business, then there is a multitude of things that you will need to get done in advance of going solo. Securing the support to start up on your own is crucial to business success. And, given that one in three new businesses fails inside the first three years, you might one to jot down a few of these points to ensure your start-up isn’t the next casualty reinforcing that statistic.
1. Secure A Loan
Once you are all set-up and trading, you may immediately want to look into getting a business loan from your bank to invest money in infrastructure, materials, equipment, etc. Securing a business loan from your bank needn’t be too difficult, so long as you can illustrate several things clearly.
Firstly, your cash flow needs to be looking healthy. Presumably, one of your reasons for needing a loan is to make some larger outgoings, so your books should already be pretty balanced at this point. Additionally, excellent character references from previous employers and outstanding industry knowledge can also stand you in good stead.
2. Attract Investment
For a small communications business, there is no shame in tapping into your own personal network and even your friends and family for investment support. Often, these small sums can be the difference between breaking even in your first year or not, so it’s worth an ask.
Attracting external investment all comes down to the quality of your business plan and ability to articulate it to potential stakeholders. Repeatedly practise your elevator pitch, and network regularly by attending conferences and events to find those wealthy like-minded people who will be able to buy into what it is you are looking to achieve. If you think like an investor, then you’re bound to secure plenty of capital to secure your new business.
3. Use Virtual Services
While you might be a one-man band for now, there is no reason why you should have to do everything by yourself. In fact, there is a wealth of virtual services for small business clients that can be purchased online. This can range from anything such as a telephone answering service to virtual assistants for larger businesses.
If you need to focus on getting your work done and don’t have time to be taking sales calls or manage the application process for potential hires, then a virtual assistant or even an automated phone answer service can be a massive help and needn’t cost the earth. Don’t be too proud to ask for help, even if it’s from a virtual helping hand.
4. Give Opportunities To Young People
If you feel like you are at a point where you are ready to bring in fresh blood, then consider hiring young people to give your communications consultancy the spark it needs to be successful. Securing the support of young people is a great idea, particularly as millennials and Gen Z tend to be the most up-to-date with current trends and affairs.
Equally, younger people can often be more creative and therefore more suited to social media or digital communication roles. You can hire young people as paid interns or in juniors positions, or even just take advantage of their brainstorming abilities and creativity with a fortnight of work experience.
5. Find A Mentor To Follow
Sometimes the most important kind of support you are going to when setting up your own business is from somebody who has done it before you. Whether it is emotional comfort, career guidance, or a quick and easy how-to guide to doing your taxes, having a mentor by your side can often be the bedrock of any successful communications business.
Being a great PR or communicator isn’t the only thing you’ll need going for you when setting up on your own. Being self-employed requires business owners to focus on finance, HR, technical, new business, and operations matters – so ideally you want a mentor who’s been and done all of the above before you. Finding the right mentor comes back to networking. It’s important – but especially in communications – to know your industry and those in it really well. Never feel like somebody is too important or unworthy of your time, people may surprise you – even at the top.
Hopefully, this overview will inspire you to secure the support that your new communications business needs to be a success story.