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Basic Practical Tips for Starting a Business

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by Startacus Admin

If you’re thinking of starting a business, the best advice generally comes from someone who’s been there and done just that. In this case that ‘someone’ is Phil Rees, founder of DigitalCloudArt , an innovative platform for artists to sell their work around the globe. In this guest post, Phil shares some basic practical tips and words of wisdom that we reckon any wannabe startup should find pretty useful.Take it away Phil...

digital cloud artHaving started with just the basic premise of an idea, I understand how annoying and at times frustrating starting a business can be. I started after a casual conversation with the chef in my old job where I worked as a barman. I started painting for profit after selling work at charity auctions and realising how much it could make. Local galleries wanted me to submit 3 paintings a month then nearly 60% commission for selling them. I thought to myself why should I pay them that much to hang it on a wall? And so my business was born. Here are my top practical and basic tips :

Register as a company

If you have a good business name, register it as a company. You don’t want to start up and then discover someone else has the same name. My own business is a limited company. I used a company called Blue Sky Formations to register the company, and it was fairly cheap - just £30 in fact. At the time I opened a business account with Barclays and managed to get £35 cashback for doing just that so it was a win-win! Also, make sure to register your domain name - there are countless sites where you can check what domain names are available and where you can buy your very own site.

Use Mentors

cowSearch about for competitions that could help you find a mentor. In my own experience, we won a local business accelerator last year, which helped us get two mentors. However, I also asked business owners that I knew or business people that I met for advice. Don’t be put off if you contact someone and they take a while to get back to you. They’re busy people after all! Perhaps even use Twitter to ask them! Another great benefit of having a mentor is that they can open doors, giving you names of people to go to for advice on a particular area and advising you of other useful contacts. They can help out with many aspects of a business. In my case, our mentors assisted us with marketing and helped us garner a lot of press attention when we painted a cow for Fivemiletown cheese - yes that pic that you see!

Grants and Investment

All I can say is be careful what you wish for. There are plenty of grants out there,but some do require equity investment. It might be fair enough that you may have to give 20% of your business away for some cash, however small print in the paperwork you sign could mean that when it comes to selling your business, the investors get 80% of the money! So be careful! As we are based in N.Ireland, we have our local economic development agency Invest NI to help us with our business needs. In your area, check out your local enterprise agency and get talking to them. They can point you in the right direction and could help advise on any grants or funding opportunities that you could apply for. Esynergy helped our company with a £10,000 grant, however we had to fill the form in three times before we actually got it! So, if you fail, try again and don’t give up!

Check your Competitors

Whatever your business may be, you’ll have a competitor in some shape or form. We registered as an artist on a competitor’s site to see what they get up to. Rather unprofessionally, they emailed all the artists and didn’t BCC the list, so we now have a list of over 500 artists who we could potentially target to join our site. It is of course unprofessional to email them, however it’s entirely ethical to find them on their own Twitter or Facebook or websites! See what your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses are and then use them to your advantage. Do a SWOT analysis!

Put your idea on paper

Write your ideas down and how far you’ve come with your idea. When you have a down day (and we all do) or get a bit lost with your thoughts, sit down and go over your list. It will relax you and focus your mind. Hopefully some of these tips will have helped some of you who may be thinking about doing something with a business idea! Good luck!

This post was written by DigitalCloudArt founder, Phil Rees who first considered design as a career when he started secondary school, with ambitions to become an architect. Phil then considered many different career paths ranging from estate agent to property development and actually studied Planning and Property development at University. His passion for design and his love of art inspired him to set up Digital Cloud Art, a digital platform for artists. The company has worked with many different clients including alcoholic drink businesses, public relation professionals and hospitality groups and even CowParade NI. All their clients are united to building and developing their brand in new and exciting media. They have also painted for various charity events and in so doing have helped with fundraising. Most of the work on DigitalCloudArt  is bespoke and ‘one off’ allowing them to stay fresh and creative.

Interested in finding out more? Check out Phil’s website and social media links below:

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Published on: 15th June 2013

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