The idea of being your own boss is certainly an attractive and compelling one. However, those who have never run their own business might be on the wrong end of a sharp slap if under the impression that it’s always plain sailing. Some people are born to run businesses, while others are better suited to the consistency and 9 to 5 simplicity that comes with a pay check.
So, is setting up a small business right for you? These bite sized tips will help you find out…
Is Your Personality Compatible With Business? Entrepreneurs are a special breed. They tend to be energetic busy people who are never shackled by the tyranny of the clock – they often work countless hours a day and weekends, especially during the startup process. Often, they have a true workaholic ethic, which can play havoc with their various human relationships but tends to be a necessity to help the business take off. As a startup owner, you’re also going to have to be self motivated, resilient and an optimist. You’ll also need to wear several hats – startups are often one man bands, where everything from product creation to marketing and accounts will need to be done solo.
Are Your Personal Circumstances & Personal Finances In Good Shape? Startups are energy draining projects. While your business sets up shop and balances to find its feet, you’ll need to invest a lot of your mental and physical energy towards it. This can be all the harder when you have disruptive, negative events happening in the background. It’s best to start with a completely clear frame of mind, and without sapping personal debts.
What Are You Going To Do? There’s that small matter of figuring out what product or service your startup will offer to the world. While it can be attractive to go off and start something totally new and exciting, this might not be altogether practical. There’s always a voracious learning curve in going into an unfamiliar niche – there are many threats such as uncertainty in gauging potential market demand and how difficult competitors will be to out muscle. Sometimes, it can be more sensible to take stock of your existing skills, experience and contact base – and build your own little empire around them. Whatever you decide, a good business plan will help shuffle your various thoughts in order so you can move forward with your business idea in a logical and steadfast fashion.
Can You Afford It? Startups can be risky – not to mention expensive, depending on your chosen business type. Until your marketing efforts start seeing results, you’ll have many bills to satiate. Running out of cash is one of the most commonly cited reasons for business startup failure. Again, a good business plan will help mitigate that risk, but never underestimate how much cash you’ll need until you find your feet. Often, the most successful startups are also the most pragmatic – they sacrifice the plush offices, first class business tickets and expensive lunches – opting instead to putter away from a squeaky basement and keeping costs at a bare minimum until the business squeezes into the black. Consider also where your finances will come from – besides your savings and/or assets, there’s the bank of mum and dad, friends, actual banks, venture capital and the ever growing peer to peer lending industry.
Get Help – No man is an island, as the saying goes. It pays to get help before, during and after the startup process. You can often get solid free advice from good business sites (like ours) – another good resource to tap into is the HMRC website, especially for business accounting help and advice. Finally, many banks will offer free business advice when you open an account with them.