The importance of professional services underestimated by start-up businesses
One of the key elements for start-up businesses is funding to get their idea off the ground. This is the usually the first hurdle as without the funding, the business can’t get off the ground or will struggle to survive at the outset. But whilst funding is prioritised, the importance of professional services is often underestimated.
Starting a new business is immensely popular right now, with numbers of start-ups increasing year on year. Although start-ups are increasing, the number of businesses that actually survive is a relatively small percentage.
With funds stretched at the outset of any business, investing in staff, equipment, stock and premises, for instance, it can leave very little in the pot to hire professional help.
Businesses that can realise the importance of professional services to help them in the crucial start-up phase will have a head start on what can be a very rocky road. Here are some examples of where professional services can be useful.
Starting a business without a clear idea of demand isn’t advisable, and there are many services now available for business owners to conduct their own market research to gain opinion and gauge demand for a product or service to be able to best anticipate success. There is also, of course, social media that can be leveraged for opinion and insight. However, knowing what the ask and how best to get the right insight from these kinds of services can be difficult. Asking the wrong questions will lead to drawing the wrong conclusions – and that’s a bad start for any business. For businesses that are investing in costly equipment, stock and staff, getting it right is crucial and therefore it might be a good option for them to speak to a specialist company that can help them gather the insight they need.
So you have your insight and feel there is a better understanding of the demand for your product of service, but now you need a go-to-market approach. With a variety of channels in the digital space many business owners may be fooled into thinking that it has got easier to reach their target audience. But with an increase in channels, consumers’ heads are being turned in all directions and distractions are aplenty in a noisy and saturated digital space. Getting the right start with the right messaging for the business and identifying the best channels to reach the audience is crucial – and this is investing in where professional services can be wise move. There may be an approach not even thought of or considered that could be the best one, and a professional will help avoid money being spent on the wrong marketing tactics.
There are of course many duties that come with running a business and these include the statutory ones such as tax returns and payroll compliance. However, getting involved with an accountancy firm from the outset will ensure the business is started with the right structure, whether that be sole trader, limited or options such as Limited Liability Partnerships. Your accountant should be seen as a business adviser, can help in many ways that way beyond the usual accountancy services, and should be the first person you show your business plan to. Many forward-thinking accountancy firms offer fixed-fee solutions for everything from a higher level of support that offers management accounts, regular reviews and forecasting and planning – right through to financial checks on suppliers and clients. An accountant may be able to help you spot a business opportunity that never occurred to you.
The bottom line is that whilst it may seem like an unnecessary investment to spend money on professional services when there are plenty of other areas that need funding in start-ups, spending money on specialist help can help avoid pitfalls and mistakes that could cost the company dearly, or at least hinder that all-important growth.