5 things I’ve learned running my own business: Annalise Lovett, Newby Castleman

Newby Castleman's Annalise Lovett

Annalise Lovett, partner at accountancy firm Newby Castleman tells us her five tips for running your own company.

1. Look after your finances (obviously!)
Managing your cashflow effectively is absolutely crucial to the ongoing viability of your business. You must have a full picture of what needs to be paid out, who owes you money, and ensure that you are keeping a healthy balance.

Maintain tabs on the movement of the money in your business, don’t be afraid to chase customers for payment and keep a close eye on your running costs. A robust pricing structure is also critical in achieving profitability.

Keep your business records up to date and use the services of a good accountant to advise you on accounts and tax matters. This will help to save you money because they will be able to advise you on how to make changes to increase profits and also look at tax planning opportunities to mitigate your tax bill.

2. Make yourself visible
No new business will get off the ground without putting itself out there at the right time and in the correct manner.
Even if you’ve got a highly innovative and creative business idea and you’ve identified a gap in the market, the reality is that every marketplace is highly competitive and you’ll get crowded out unless you create a unique and instantly recognisable image for your start-up.
Furthermore, every business, right down to one-person enterprises, should have a website – this is your shop window in the modern world.


3. Know your market
If you understand the competition, what makes them tick and what they struggle with, you’ve got a good grounding to compete. Make sure you know where your product or service sits within the marketplace and know how it compares to the alternatives.
Knowing what your customer wants and moving with the market to continually develop your product or service is vital. Do your research well so that you can create a niche for your business.

4. Plan ahead
You always need to have an eye on where you’re going with your business and what you want to achieve. Having a step-by-step plan stretching five years into the future will drive your business forward and enable you to set achievable goals and make a success of your business.

Planning ahead enables you to identify risks and opportunities and to stay competitive in your industry.

5. Have the right people around you
Even if you’re starting up a small business by yourself, this still applies to you – you need to build a strong working relationship with your suppliers, service providers and those who help you bring your products or services to market.

If you have a team of employees, everyone needs to feel that they’re on the same side, and that they have an important part to play in achieving the business’ objectives. Let your staff feed into your vision for the business and ensure they feel listened to – this will make the difference between having a business model that works in theory and having a business that is successful in practice.