Is light entrepreneurship right for me?

Are you considering becoming a light entrepreneur? This article explores the basics of business ideas, business plans and starting out in business.

Published on: 1.1.2019 Written by: OP Light Entrepreneur Team

New entrepreneurs have many questions to answer. Is my business idea a good one? How do I draw up a good business plan? What kinds of financial support are available and when can I obtain a start-up grant? What about financing, insurance and tax?

In what order should I take care of various matters? Which ones are mandatory, less important or perhaps voluntary? How much paperwork is involved and what can be outsourced when starting out in business?

The OP Light Entrepreneurship service makes starting a business as easy as possible. Routines such as bookkeeping and invoicing are handled directly via the service. This article discusses some of the basics that can help you to succeed as an entrepreneur.

A business idea is the first step for entrepreneurs

In practice, your business idea can be about anything at all: it can be based on your professional skills or hobby, a new product or services, a new version of an existing product or service, or even a combination of these.

The business idea defines the purpose of the business — answers the question of why the business was started.

What kind of business idea is good? Must it be new and disrupt the markets in some way?

Many businesses are based on the entrepreneur’s strong professional skills, such as photography, construction or programming. Starting a company based on your expertise and professional skills is often a safe way of entering business.

Ask yourself the following questions:

If you have a business idea and entrepreneurial motivation, the next step is to draw up a business plan.

Business plan

Being based on your business idea, your business plan will help you to see whether your business idea will work and make money, and how your business will operate.

Draw up a business plan to form an idea of what is involved in starting and running your business, and how to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Your business plan is primarily intended for you — to help you map out your business idea’s potential, strengths and challenges at an early stage.

If you seek financing for your business, potential financiers will find it easy to research your plans if you have explained them in your business plan.

You should consider including the following in your business plan:

‘Target group’ describes who you want to offer your products or services to. It also tells you how best to carry out sales.

Who are your customers? How do they make purchasing decisions? Where are they located, how can they be reached, and how many are there? Understanding your intended customer base and their needs will create a basis for your activities.

Couples soon to be married, who are looking for wedding music, are likely to have stricter purchasing criteria than parents seeking a guitar player for a kids’ party. Such couples will probably be choosier and want samples of the entrepreneur’s work.

Your strengths are your key resource in business. Write down your competences, network and knowledge of your line of business. This will make it easier to view familiar matters from a new perspective and see new connections between them.

Products and services are the backbone of your business. What can you offer your customers? What are your products’ features and are they tempting for customers? Draw up concrete and detailed specifications of your product — is this the kind of product that will genuinely interest customers?

Thinking about demand and the competition will help you to see whether your business idea can succeed on the markets. How many paying customers are out there? How competitive are the markets? How do your product’s benefits and features compare to the competition in terms of price, value added, and weaknesses?

An assessment of potential financing and profitability will tell you how much start-up capital you need and how you must price your product to make a living out of your company.

Planning of sales and marketing are also an important part of a business plan. How might you interest your target group in the services you are selling? What is your business’s communications method and in which channels should it be active?

It is important to choose the right social media channel. If your potential customers are on Facebook, but rarely on Instagram or Twitter, don’t waste resources on pointless channels, at least to begin with.

Digital marketing also provides small companies with an important opportunity. You can publish interesting content for your customers and reach different target groups with targeted adverts or search words that give you visibility.

There are lots of large and small digital marketing companies which it can be useful to consult when starting your business. Thinking things through in the business plan will help you to advertise and market your services effectively.

Choosing a company name

You should view your company name as a marketing asset, i.e. your business’s calling card. The name should resonate and stay in the mind, describe the company and relate to its business in some way. You should also ensure that any name you choose can be used in the company’s web address.

In principle, the entrepreneur’s own name is used as the company’s name with OP Light Entrepreneur. However, you can use whatever name is available (not barred) in your marketing. You can also use an official name to enter your company in the Trade Register. This is not statutory unless your business operates under a licence.

Become an OP Light Entrepreneur

Financing, start-up grants and insurance

If you intend to start a business, you should ensure that the required funding is available at the start-up phase. This could be your own money, or financing from someone else.

If your business idea would need a lot of investment, you can seek funding from organisations such as Finnvera or banks, or approach investors.

If you seek financing, your business plan must include detailed financing and profitability calculations. These will show your business expenses, possible investments in premises and equipment, and how your product sales will cover loan repayments and other fixed costs.
Start-up grants are intended for early-stage entrepreneurs and can be used as the entrepreneur wishes. They are not loans and do not need to be repaid.

Apply for a start-up grant in good time, before you begin actual business activities or become an OP Light Entrepreneur.

If you intend to apply for a start-up grant, be sure to read our guide Start-up grants for entrepreneurs (in Finnish).

Please note that entrepreneurs operating through traditional billing services are not awarded start-up grants: to be eligible, you must be operating under a business ID. OP Light Entrepreneurs can apply for and receive start-up grants.

Become an OP Light Entrepreneur

Corporate and entrepreneur’s insurance will help you to prepare for business risks. Some insurance is statutory and some voluntary.

When planning your business, consider the possible risks. Depending on your line of business, well-chosen insurance can bring peace of mind and ensure the continuity of your business if problems occur.

High-quality equipment is a major investment for an early-stage entrepreneur. A good insurance policy will ensure that you can resume operating quickly if a computer, construction equipment, camera or vehicle are damaged or lost.

Does home insurance cover my business?

Home insurance may cover movable property and equipment used by your company. However, there are differences between insurance policies, so check your business insurance before problems occur. Your insurance company will tell you what your insurance covers.

Pohjola’s home insurance — MyHome Insurance — also covers household appliances and equipment used by your business such as computers and other electronics. You can also cover more expensive items by taking out valuables insurance.

Pohjola MyHome insurance for homes and appliances

Pohjola valuables insurance

Read more about Pohjola MyHome insurance and how to buy it on Pohjola’s insurance pages.

Corporate insurance — what insurance do I need for my business activities?

You should take out insurance cover for all eventualities. Corporate insurance needs vary according to the line of business and company. Entrepreneurs tend to differ in terms of their insurance needs. For this reason, we recommend contacting insurance advisors who will help you when starting your business.

You should also review your insurance in good time, particularly if your business is undergoing a major expansion or changes. We recommend Pohjola Insurance for the insurance of OP Light Entrepreneurs. Request a quote for corporate insurance.

Still wondering about insurance? Read more in our guide on insurance for entrepreneurs.

As well as corporate and property insurance, an entrepreneur may need statutory YEL pension insurance for self-employed persons. YEL pension insurance is compulsory if the following criteria are fulfilled:

See our comprehensive article on YEL pension insurance.

Our OP Light Entrepreneur service offers our users the opportunity to take out voluntary insurance, such as workers’ compensation insurance, business liability insurance and insurance covering fixed assets.

What can we do to help?

A business plan is an important tool for entrepreneurs in general. The key issue is to include your thoughts and plans on your business idea, competitiveness, profitability, customers, resources and sales promotion techniques.

The good news is that energetic planning will make starting your business very easy. As an OP Light Entrepreneur, you can focus on your expertise from the start, while our team handles the paperwork and other matters.

If you need help, our expert customer service is available via chat on our website (see the speech bubble on the right). OP Light Entrepreneurs can also phone us on our helpline — log into the service to find our contact information.

See also OP Media’s Guide to starting a company. In Finnish.

Become an OP Light Entrepreneur