What it takes to start a business; our coworking journey so far!

In our social media recently, we have been posting a lot about our reflections of starting a business because although we're not quite up and running yet, we have done a lot of the ground work behind the scenes. We're really proud of what we've achieved so far and excited about the future possibilities of our coworking space.

In the last eight months we have:

  • Written a business plan and done all those dreaded calculations!
  • Established a name, logo and brand
  • Launched our website
  • Built up a list of people who are interested in using our coworking space in Crowborough
  • Networked our socks off and met loads of great people in the local business community of Crowborough, Uckfield, Heathfield and Tunbridge Wells
  • Found a premises we love (all will be revealed soon we hope!)

As newbies to the small business world, we've learnt a lot too. Here is our summary of our key lessons if you're wanting to set up a business too:

  • Every conversation you have helps you shape where your business is going - the biggest piece of advice we could give is to listen to people you talk to; they may have some really good ideas and even if you don't agree with them, they will offer you information that is useful to you from another perspective. They will also help you learn about your target market.
  • Engage with the local business community - OK so it's similar to the last one but it's just so important to have those more formal as well as the informal conversations. The small business community are so friendly and supportive and those connections have really boosted our confidence that we can do this.
  • A decent business plan is essential - a business plan will really steer you in the right direction, help you to think about what you want to achieve with your business and ensure you are spending your time in the most efficient way for you to achieve those goals. It has also helped us stay true to our value base and to stay focused on the right things. We've found it really useful to speak to business mentors about this too and they're a great place to start if you're not sure where to!
  • Connecting with potential customers comes in lots of forms - we're not big social media users but it is the way of the world so we've needed to get to grips with it. We also held a focus group which was really helpful in getting more detailed feedback on our plans. Plus, we've kept people interested in our space up to date with our progress. To receive our progress updates and information on coworking, please click on 'Register Interest' and fill in your details. We are glad we invested time and money getting the advice of some good marketeers as it is a huge part of people hearing about us which is essential as a new business.
  • A good team makes a lot of difference, no matter how small you are! - we are a husband and wife team and have never worked together before but luckily it has been great for us and we've found we work really well together. Being able to work together honestly and efficiently and knowing our personal strengths and weaknesses has been hard at times but also feels like a key component as to why we work well together.

But what are those key ingredients that you need in your small business team? These are the key ingredients as we see them!:

  • Courage - It's pretty brave to invest your time and money into something you believe to be valuable and trust that others will agree
  • Integrity - Having strong morals and being true to yourselves and others is really important. It helps people to trust in you and your business and helps you feel good too.
  • Self belief - if you don't believe you can do it, you probably won't; you are your strongest asset.
  • Motivation - That magic ingredient that helps you get off the sofa and give it your all!
  • Curiosity - Being curious about the bits you don't know and asking questions.

So we've learnt all of that without having yet opened our space yet! We are looking forward to learning even more once our doors are open! Watch this space for more words of wisdom once we're up and running!