Businesswoman looking at message on her phoneInterested in setting up your own business? Julie Hall, founder of online business community Women Unlimited, gives her 5 top tips

1. Check your idea and business plan is profitable. Ensure you have enough to pay yourself and leave a bit left over to reinvest in the business. Find out what people are willing to pay and what you want to charge before you invest lots of time and energy into your company.

2. Keep costs down. Work from home if you can, don’t buy lots of stock, use second hand equipment while you’re getting started, and don’t invest in unnecessary things like, for example, a big flashy website until the business is making enough money to justify it.

3. Negotiate as much as you can. When asking for money, request payment in advance or within 7 days.  When paying others try to pay small amounts monthly and negotiate on how late you can pay, for example in 30 or 60 days.

4. Start a business that doesn’t require investment. Use the skills you already have and ask others to pay for them. Alternatively, become a middle woman between a skilled person and your ideal customer.

5. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Every business owner makes mistakes – it goes with the territory. But the success of your business will rely on your ability to bounce back, learn and move on. You can do this, it just requires a bit of resilience.

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