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Inspirational small business advice from five people who have started their own company

By Will Stevens - September 25, 2017

Running your own business can be hard, especially if you’re just starting out. It can feel like you have to do everything yourself, and to make matters worse it can feel like you have no one to turn to for advice.

At 123 Reg, we’ve worked with business owners of all kinds, helping them achieve their business dreams, no matter what they may be.

So to help you turn your idea into a reality, or to take an existing business to the next level, we asked a selection of successful business people to offer their advice.

Let’s start at the beginning.

Starting was very hard and very stressful –there is no rule book,” said Alan Clarke of catering supplies firm Trademaid. “There are a lot of tutorials written by people who don’t really know what they are talking about and there wasn’t much help for a company starting a new business.

“There were initiatives; but there were no offerings for somebody that had no business skills. No idea about sales. No guidance.

“One of the main issues that I found was finding unbiased info –finance sales and the basic needs vat tax etc. I didn’t think there was a great deal of help out there for these people. A lot of it was asking for help. Phoning people from HMRC and asking them what I should know.

“We made a lot of phone calls, asked friends and family as well as people that we knew that had done this before. Learned from them.”

The key takeaway here is: Don’t expect to know everything straightaway. Ask for advice from everyone you can. It may be a good idea to try and find a small business adviser to help you make those first, important steps. Click here to search for a small business advice organisation near you.

As Alan says, there will be challenges along the way. But don’t let them put you off. Steven Walker, founder of driving school Red Amber Go, was keen to emphasise the benefits of being your own boss.

“The best thing clearly about running your own business is that you’re in control, there is no one else to answer to,” he said.

“It’s the satisfaction as well that any challenges you come across you’re meeting those head on, you’re getting over those challenges yourself, there’s no one to help you, unless you can pick up the phone and speak to somebody else.

“It’s just the whole satisfaction that comes from being in control and running your own business.”

Steve Walker of Red Amber Go

Starting to feel inspired? Good! Of course, running a business isn’t just about being your own boss – it’s also about getting your message out there.

In the past, word of mouth may have been enough, but according to Christian Jaroljmek founder of web design agency, Weblounge, that’s no longer the case.

“I have been picking up business through word of mouth and referrals,” he explained.

“I don’t see that as being the way forward for the future. That will always happen and that is great, but I am seeing more and more that my online presence is going to be more important for generating larger projects, communicating to wider audiences and being a larger, more professional company.

“It’s about search optimising tools, blogging and the tools that can put you in front of clients that you would not be able to get in front of with word of mouth.”

John Westward-Hill, who runs JWH Millinery, has a similar way of thinking.

“Being online means that anybody from around the world can find me go on my website and find out what I do,” he said.

“Having a website also means that I can see who is looking at my website throughout the world, how long they are spending on the site, what they are looking at so I can adapt my website so I can get more revenue.”

Christian Jaroljmek

For Nikki McNeill, founder of PR firm Global Publicity, the key to getting a website that works, the right advice, or financial operations is teaming up with the right people.

“I would say the biggest challenge for running your own business is all of the admin for running the day to day duties,” she said.

“Making sure your website works, banking all those kind of things. To make it all work quickly and effectively working with partners such as 123 Reg really helps my business.”

So there we have it, vital pieces of advice from people who have “been there, done that”. If you need help getting your business online, why not check out one of the UK’s top Website Builders from 123 Reg?

We also have the 123 Reg Search Engine Optimiser, which can help your site get found in Google.

And if you’re still stuck, why not ask us a question via Facebook, or Twitter and we’ll do our best to help.