Top tips for starting a successful business - Business Works
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Top tips for starting a successful business

David Spencer-Percival, CEO, Spencer Ogden When it comes to starting a business, having a vision is the easy part. The hard bit comes when translating that vision into a reality. It is imperative that you follow your convictions through and always remember that, no matter how good it looks on paper, a good idea does not automatically result in a good business. It takes hard work to turn one into the other. Here are some tips to help with the transition from business dream to commercial success:

Think wisely when it comes to investors

For many entrepreneurs in the business planning phase, the greatest challenge is securing funding. If you are lucky enough to find an investor as excited about your business idea as you are, it's tempting to get carried away in the excitement. But this is just the time when you should tread carefully. Thatís because the decisions you make about the source of your start-up funding can ultimately decide the fate of the entire venture. I know from experience that it is all too easy to go wrong, so doing your research and seeking out the correct partners is critical. Work with people you like, as opposed to those with the most money or those offering the best deal.

Plan, plan, plan

Even in the start-up phase, long-term planning is vital. While raising the finance required to get your company off the ground is obviously significant, it is not the most important part of your venture. It is essential that you look beyond the first six months and forecast your financial performance for at least two years. You will find that an effective budgeting process will prove the most useful tool for keeping your finances in shape and your business profitable, particularly while your start-up is in its early stages.

Recruit the right team

Having an expert team in place at the outset is essential when jump-starting a business. The central message of my business, Spencer Ogden, was that it could provide the technical knowledge and experience to deliver unrivalled solutions in energy recruitment. We therefore had to recruit experienced consultants. Your employees represent the future of your business, so it is important that you invest both time and money in their training and well-being.

Maintain that start-up feeling

The workforce of 2013 is a fluid one. Even during the recession, a time of job insecurity, when you would assume that most employees would cling to their current positions, the rate of staff turnover remained high. In order to avoid this high turnover in your business, you should aim to keep your staff motivated.

Do this by looking to your working environment. It should be engaging, lively and a place where employees look forward to spending time. A fun workplace can be created in any number of ways, but it always requires a positive outlook from management. Aside from this, the office aesthetic is possibly the easiest aspect to control and is something we have really gone to town with. Our London HQ has become well known for its funky design, which includes an 18 foot round table, artificial grass carpeting and a fully-kitted American diner for eating and relaxing in.

Sometimes aesthetics arenít enough and for some, wallpapering the office with a bright, eye-catching colour scheme wonít be possible or appropriate for the company brand. If your business is unable to liven up the physical setting, it might alternatively concentrate on creating a truly exciting incentive scheme. But before you go down the path of benefits, have a firm plan in mind and be sure not to just give them away. Competition is fun and you will find employees become vastly more productive when they have a target to work towards, or colleagues to compete against.

So when it comes to kick starting your own business, be sure youíve done your homework. Plan ahead, hire a great team and instil in them a shared vision for the company. Maintain that start-up feeling by creating a dynamic and friendly (but competitive) environment. Most importantly, embrace the hard work and you will be sure to reap the rewards!

David Spencer-Percival is CEO at recruitment company, Spencer Ogden. For more information, please visit:

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