By Dror Shaked, VP business development at Wix.com
So you’ve got an idea that you want to unleash into the world and have decided to start a new business. Congratulations! Plunging into the world of entrepreneurship can be scary but if you’re successful, the rewards will be more than fruitful.
Here are some steps to making your dream or passion a thriving, successful reality.
- GET YOUR BUSINESS PLAN RIGHT
Take time to brainstorm. In order to be able to create a good business plan, you need to scout out all the information and create a winning strategy for your business. A plan for a new small business is a guide in terms of information, operations and most importantly, it can determine success.
A good business plan exposes your strengths and weaknesses, but all you have to do is to focus on your strengths and how you can overcome the weaknesses. Building a plan takes time and effort, and researching and writing your business plan may seem like a monumental task, but as you go through the process you will develop invaluable knowledge which will put you in a much better position, reducing the risks of failure.
Before you have a go at doing your business plan, make sure you have a basic business concept, have decided on your products and services, and brought on board a team that can support you such as accounts; above all, ensure that you understand the financial investment that your business will need.
- BRAND YOURSELF
Before you kick your business off the ground, start planning for marketing and branding. Building your brand identity is essential; this includes choosing a business name and designing a logo that establishes the look and feel you want for your business.
Start evaluating your competitors in the same field, as you can learn a lot by doing so. Identify what makes your brand unique;knowing what sets you apart from the competition and making it clear to your audience gives you an edge over them.
An important part of your brand is your online presence so you need to create a website that clearly explains who you are and what you do. If your budget is low, you don’t need to hire a web developer; beginners can get a website up and running in no time with web development platforms such as Wix. Websites are usually the home of your online presence and can be used to sell your products and services online, but most importantly to engage with your clients through the various tools such as newsletters, email marketing, content and others.
- MARKET YOURSELF
A great business won’t do you any good if people don’t know about it. Before you start selling your product or service, you need to build up your brand and a following. Social media is essential in today’s world in order to spread the name of the business. Depending on the type of business, venture out into platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and perhaps even Snapchat. You don’t need to have all platforms, just the ones which are relevant for your business. Social media is a great way to engage with new clients, gain inspiration, as well as offer coupons and discounts to your followers. The more active you are online, the more likely you are to be discovered.
Through your website or competitions, get customers to fill in a form with their email address on it and start building your database. Email marketing is useful to reach out to a small or large list of potential or current clients to let them know when you have a new product, offer or news. Keeping them informed is a great way to drive recurring business and attract new customers.
If you invest on marketing yourself, your customers will grow quickly and you’ll start building a base of customer loyalty if your clients are happy with your service and impressed with what you have to offer.
- KEEPING THE MOMENTUM GOING
Networking is key when running a business – from the time that you’re starting your business until it’s fully established, and even beyond.Introduce yourself to business owners, relevant societies and influential members of the community – you never know who could be a potential lead or customer. This is the best way to spread the word and bring in new clients or getting ideas that can take develop your business further.
If you have a particular area of expertise you should also look at industry conferences and events and participate as a speaker; this will give you exposure and allow you to establish yourself as an expert in your field.
Finally, continue to raise your profile by considering investing in PR, as it can be a valuable tool to raise your business profile with your key target audiences, whether they may be investors, partners, trade bodies or customers.
German exports to UK fell almost a third in January as Brexit hit
By Paul Carrel and Rene Wagner
BERLIN (Reuters) – German exports to the United Kingdom fell by 30% on the year in January as the impact of Brexit turned Europe’s largest economy away from the UK, exacerbating the hit to business from the coronavirus pandemic, official figures showed on Tuesday.
The UK left the European Union’s single market at the end of last year, raising barriers to trade. That final split followed more than four years of wrangling over its terms of exit from the EU, during which German businesses had already begun to reduce their interactions with Britain.
“Since 2016 – the year of the Brexit referendum – German exports to the UK have steadily declined,” Germany’s Federal Statistics Office said in a comment on the preliminary figures. It did not give a sector-by-sector breakdown.
The Office attributed the January slump to “the effects of Brexit after the year 2020, which was marked by the Corona pandemic.”
The impact of COVID-19 meant that the UK economy was smaller in January than a year earlier. The International Monetary Fund estimates that the UK and euro zone economies will not return to their pre-pandemic levels until next year.
Ahead of formal departure from the EU on Dec. 31, British businesses rushed to bring goods into the country – stockpiling that often results in a dip in activity later.
The January slump in bilateral trade compared with a more modest decline in December 2020, when German exports to the UK fell by 3.3% on the year, to 5.0 billion euros, and imports from the UK dropped 11.4% to 2.8 billion euros.
Gabriel Felbermayr, president of the IfW economic institute in Kiel, said the January export slump was probably an “outlier” as the pandemic slowed trade, and as exporters adjusted to new customs formalities.
“In the long term, we assume that German exports to the UK will be 10% below the level expected without Brexit,” Felbermayr told Reuters.
The Brexit deal is “far removed from the rules of the single market” in the EU and will dampen trade, he added, with many firms on the continent having already reorganised supply chains and scaled back business with Britain.
New customs rules which took effect in January have increased the cost and complexity of trade between Britain and the EU, especially for smaller firms, and caused delays to freight at the borders.
In 2020 as a whole, German exports to the UK fell by 15.5% compared to 2019, recording the biggest year-on-year decline since the financial and economic crisis in 2009, when they fell by 17.0%, the Office said.
In 2015 German exports to the UK amounted to 89.0 billion euros. In 2020, German they totalled 66.9 billion euros.
Imports to Germany from the UK totalled 34.7 billion euros in 2020, down 9.6 % compared to 2019.
(Reporting by Paul Carrel; Editing by Madeline Chambers and Catherine Evans)
UK’s National Grid to invest 10 billion pounds in power network by 2026
(Reuters) – Britain’s National Grid said on Tuesday it broadly accepted a price control proposal from regulator Ofgem and would invest around 10 billion pounds in the power transmission network that it operates by 2026.
In December, Ofgem gave the go-ahead for 40 billion pounds ($53.4 billion) in spending on utility networks between 2021-2026 to prepare for more renewable power, including a higher-than-planned limit on grid operators’ returns.
National Grid said it was pleased to see the increase in allowances and accepted the overall package for its role as electricity system operator, while broadly accepting the package for electricity and transmission businesses.
The price controls take effect from April 2021.
“This package will allow the critical investment required to maintain the resilience and reliability of our networks,” National Grid said.
At nearly 2 billion pounds a year on average, investment would be higher than the previous price control period, it said.
National Grid said it would submit a technical appeal to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) regarding Ofgem’s proposed cost of equity and downward adjustment to allowed returns in expectation of future outperformance.
SSEN Transmission, part of utility SSE, said it would also appeal these issues with the CMA, in addition to areas relating to new exposure to transmission charges and the loss of appeals right relating to total expenditure.
If accepted, the six-month appeal process would begin from April and final determinations could be expected in October.
National Grid said it expected credit metrics to remain below the required threshold levels of a BBB+/Baa1 debt rating on an ongoing basis due to the increased investment programme.
It said it was confident of retaining access to debt markets even if agencies downgraded the National Grid Group’s ratings.
National Grid said it aimed to deliver annual dividend per share growth in line with the British CPIH inflation from the full business year 2021/22.
(Reporting by Nora Buli in Oslo; Editing by Jason Neely and Edmund Blair)
Betting on death of petrol cars, Volvo to go all electric by 2030
By Nick Carey and Helena Soderpalm
LONDON (Reuters) – Volvo’s entire car lineup will be fully electric by 2030, the Chinese-owned company said on Tuesday, joining a growing number of automakers planning to phase out fossil-fuel engines by the end of this decade.
“I am totally convinced there will be no customers who really want to stay with a petrol engine,” Volvo Chief Executive HÃ¥kan Samuelsson told reporters when asked about future demand for electric vehicles. “We are convinced that an electric car is more attractive for customers.”
The Swedish-based carmaker said 50% of its global sales should be fully-electric cars by 2025 and the other half hybrid models.
Owned by Hangzhou-based Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, Volvo will launch a new family of electric cars in the next few years, all of which will be sold online only.
On Tuesday it unveiled the first of those models, the C40, a fully electric SUV, which will have an initial battery range of around 420 kilometres (261 miles).
Volvo will include wireless upgrades and fixes for its new electric models – an approach originally pioneered by electric carmaker Tesla Inc. This means the C40’s range will be extended over time with software upgrades, Chief Technology Officer Henrik Green said.
Carmakers are racing to switch to zero-emission models as they face CO2 emissions targets in Europe and China, plus looming bans in some countries on fossil fuel vehicles.
Last month, Ford Motor Co said its lineup in Europe will be fully electric by 2030, while Tata Motors unit Jaguar Land Rover said its luxury Jaguar brand will be entirely electric by 2025 and the carmaker will launch electric models of its entire line-up by 2030.
In November, luxury carmaker Bentley, owned by Germany’s Volkswagen, said its models would be all electric by 2030.
Electrification is expensive for carmakers and as electric vehicles have fewer moving parts, employment in the car industry is expected to shrink.
Volvo CEO Samuelsson said that industry-wide, electrification will mostly affect engine plants and auto suppliers providing everything from oil filters to fuel injectors and spark plugs.
“Those are a lot of jobs of course,” he said. “But overall I don’t think there will be a big difference.”
Volvo said it will “radically reduce” the complexity of its model line-up and provide customers with transparent pricing.
The carmaker’s global network of 2,400 traditional bricks-and-mortar dealers will remain open to service vehicles and to help customers make online orders.
So far Volvo has not been affected by a pandemic-fueled global semiconductor chip shortage that has temporarily shut a number of assembly plants, which Samuelsson said was thanks to constant communication with suppliers.
“So far, knock on wood, we have not had to stop any assembly line,” he said. “But it could happen any day.”
(Reporting By Nick Carey; editing by Barbara Lewis, Gerry Doyle and Susan Fenton)
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