Let’s get one thing straight from the start. Being laid off from work is absolutely devastating, and is one of the most stressful experiences anyone can go through. Like any life-changing event, it takes time to come to terms with what has taken place, but once the dust has settled, you might just find that it was the best thing that ever happened to you.

Today might be a tough time for job seekers, but there are other ways to turn your life around after being fired and come out on top. In today’s digital age, there are more opportunities than ever for the budding entrepreneur to set up a online business from nothing and build a remote team of professionals to help you achieve your dream. For web-based companies, start-up costs and barriers to entry are negligible, so you can be up and running with minimal need for investment.

The successful minority

Of course, if it were as easy as that, everybody would be doing it. Low barriers to entry into the almost infinite marketplace that is the Internet spells one thing, and that is enormous competition. While there are more new business startups than ever before, this is tempered by the statistic that eight in ten are doomed to fail within the first 18 months.

So how can you guarantee a place for your online business in the successful 20 percent? Having a fantastic business idea and the will and passion for making a success of it are a great start, but there are also some practical areas that you need to consider.

Look after the finances

One of the biggest challenges you will face in the opening months is looking after your basic financials. That might sound obvious, but most new business entrepreneurs are so focused on the business itself that boring matters like budgeting, forecasting and keeping track of money are given a low priority.

Even a sole trader cannot do everything, so get some qualified help from a local firm of accountants – many offer a very reasonable monthly retainer fee that allows you to call on them as and when needed.

Have a plan

Benjamin Franklin famously warned us that “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” and the advice holds particularly true for any fledgling business.

There is no doubt that both the business and the marketplace will be in a state of constant evolution, so no matter how busy you are, step back from time to time and review your overall strategy. That way you will have a better chance of seeing both the opportunities and threats that could be coming your way.

Look after your systems

You would be amazed how many people start a new online business with little or nothing in the way of systems. Low start-up costs are one thing, trying to run a successful long term business with nothing but an old laptop and a cheerful disposition is another matter entirely.

By getting the right systems in place at the outset, you will start off on the right foot. It is also more cost-effective in the long run than starting out on a shoestring and trying to retrofit the perfect system later.

This is another contribution from business and financial freelance writer Jenny Holt.

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