For those thinking of starting a motor trade business, the decision to move from employed to self-employed is a big one.
Although you may not have the security of a regular income, you'll be given the highly rewarding opportunity to build a successful and profitable business over time.
But don't be fooled, the process will take plenty of research and planning. That's why we've come up with some questions to set you on the road to success.
What is your business?
Firstly, you'll need to decide the type of business you'd like to run. From sales, to repairs and maintenance (or combinations thereof), you have a number options.
Where will you be based?
Once you've decided the type of business you want to run, you'll be able to choose the right location to operate from based on your requirements. At first, you may be working from a home office or something similar until you're able to cover the expenses of expanding your business. For example, if you're only selling one or two cars per week, it may not be viable to rent out a forecourt. At least not yet.
Have you done your research?
Now you've answered 'what' and 'where', it's time to answer 'how'.
Compile a list of competitors and find out as much as possible about the market you're entering. Is there room in your area for another motor trade business like yours? Look into your customer base and target audience, and see how your rivals are appealing to these groups.
Having at least a basic understanding of car mechanics, vehicle value and industry trends will give you a huge advantage whichever business you decide to open.
This is also a great time to create a business plan - arguably the most important stage in the process, an effective plan is the difference between a start-up that floats and one that flops.
What's your name?
Your name is one of the first thing a potential customer learns about you. Make it memorable and be sure to look online to check that no-one else has it.
Strong branding is memorable and creates an impression on your target audience. Work with an expert to work on logos and company colours - this is what sticks in people's minds.
How will you fund your business?
Setting up any new business will require capital. If you don't have the initial funds, you may need to find an investor or take out a business loan.
The government also has a number of funding options available for those looking to start their own business. Applying for these often requires a business plan, so make sure yours is strong.
Whatever you do, make sure you're able to cover your business outgoings right from the offset. You should always have a safety net in case business begins slower than expected.
How will you be found?
It's time to get your name out there. One of the most important things to do is get a website and set up social media accounts. The internet is arguably the biggest and most cost-effective marketing tool on the web, so make the most of it. Put yourself on local listing and industry specific websites, too.
Traditional marketing channels like local press advertising, car trader magazines are also useful, although this can sometimes be costly.
Are you protected?
Insuring your motor trade business is a legal requirement, and consulting a motor trade insurance broker can make this complicated process a lot easier. At Bollington, we can help you decide what cover is best for you.
Are you ready?
If you're able to answer all these questions, then congratulations - you're ready to start trading!