Setting up your own business is literally a roller coaster ride, full of ups and downs and moments of excitement combined with pure terror, but the payoff can be incredibly rewarding. Starting a business can seem like the most difficult part of the process — and it requires probably one of the biggest leaps of faith you’ll take during your new career. But the hard work doesn’t stop there. To make your business truly successful, you need to have a plan and consider the legal implications of your new venture.
What defines “success”?
A successful business is typically one that performs well, but in order to achieve this, you need to define what “success” means to you. It might be that you want to achieve a large turnover, double your number of customers or clients, or run a fruitful social media campaign. Regardless of your main goal, which will inevitably change as your business grows and evolves, there are some key considerations you should always keep in mind.
What’s your Unique Selling Point?
Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is what separates your business from others’. Without it, there’s nothing stopping your target audience from ignoring you completely and heading straight to your competitor. Identifying what separates you from them isn’t always easy, but once you have your USP, you’re in a much better position to market your product or services in a way that’s going to appeal to your target audience.
It might be that your USP lies in that your business is the first of its kind in your area. Are you the only firm of lawyers in Jersey, Channel Islands, or the first company of its kind to source products that are ethically made or supplied by small, independent businesses?
If you’re not the first Jersey law firm in the area, or the only business who sources ethically made products, you need something to make you stand out. Do you provide expert level customer service, or have a high knowledge of your chosen area? Whatever your Unique Sales Proposition, make sure it becomes part of the key message you’re putting out to your audience and that it aligns with the values of the people you want to do business with.
Helpful tip: Can you prove what makes you stand out to prospective clients and customers? Perhaps you can glean testimonials from your previous clients or customers and display these on your website, or petition for honest reviews on Google. Doing so will increase your credibility and make you appear trustworthy, which is a key factor in running a successful business.
Have a plan
Having a plan is crucial to maximising any businesses’ success. A plan will help you determine your goals and set out steps so that you (and your team) can achieve them. Start by setting small, realistic goals, and if you find your business meeting them in a much shorter timeframe than anticipated, you can reevaluate them at regular intervals, such as at team meetings.
To determine your short-term aims, take stock of your current state. What areas of your business are you neglecting? If you run your business alone, do you want to be in the position to recruit in the near future? If so, do you need employment contract advice from an employment lawyer? By making a tangible plan, you’ll be able to see exactly what you need to do to achieve the results you want.
Don’t forget to consider the law
Starting up a business isn’t a simple case of deciding on your product or service and developing a list of people to sell to. There are a number of legal implications you need to think about. While these can seem difficult to understand, fortunately, the help of a business lawyer can help explain the legal jargon to you.
If you have employees or plan on growing your business to take on extra staff, you’ll need the advice of an employment lawyer to help you set up contracts. While in an ideal situation you won’t ever have any disputes with your employees, if you face allegations of unfair dismissal, a specialist in employment law dismissal will be able to resolve the case without resorting to a tribunal. It’s also advisable to maintain a positive relationship with your staff. By conducting regular performance checks (or KPIs) to monitor how they’re working, you’ll be able to identify where you can better support them and demonstrate that you’ve taken every reasonable step to help them improve before resorting to dismissing them.
Your main priority as a business owner is to ensure it becomes successful. While it can be a daunting prospect, especially when you aren’t seeing results, it’s important to remember that having a successful business is a long game, requiring a carefully thought out plan, knowing what makes your company unique and a thorough understanding of the legal implications of your new venture.
About the Author
Carl Parslow is the managing partner of Parslows’ Jersey office. He has 20 years of experience practicing law. Carl was initially called to the English Bar in 1996 and in 2003 he was called to the Jersey Bar as an advocate. He is an Honorary Librarian of the Law Society of Jersey and serves on several Law Society committees. Carl is an extremely experienced SME and employment lawyer