Starting In Business

Becoming your own boss

The prospect of being your own boss, not being required to clock in and out at specific times and being able to take as much holiday leave as you want sounds ideal and many dream of having such flexibility in their life. However, it is not as idealist as it sounds. It still requires a great deal of dedication, self-control and plain hard work, particularly in the early days of business life.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) found that in 2012 there were some 4.8 million businesses in the UK, with small to medium enterprises (SMEs) accounting for 99.9% of all private sector businesses. A SME is a business with less than 250 employees in respect of this survey. According to a The Times 100 survey, at least one in three businesses fail to survive three years.

In most cases, your business will be in direct competition to other SMEs in your business type, be it geographically if your business aims to deal with local individuals or businesses, or if your business is online, then you will undoubtedly be in competition with others possibly worldwide.

Your product or service should have a proven or tested market. For most people starting in business this is the easy bit as they set up a business with a product or service that they already have experience in. A word of caution though, your product or service must not conflict with the patent or rights of an existing business. Obviously for many businesses there are no protected rights.

You will need to quickly learn a number of skills that had previously been undertaken by others when you were employed. These skills can be managerial, financial, technical and marketing skills. If you do not have these skills personally, then you either need to plan to learn them quickly yourself or find a business partner or employee who can. Some skills can be acquired through training although some just come naturally and can only be learnt at the “school of hard knocks”.

You will need to become a psychologist! Why, well in business you will come across many people both as business partners, staff and customers. You will need to understand what makes them tick so you can get the best out of them, be it commitment and support or just plain persuading them to buy from you. How you interact with people that are in contact with your business will be key to its success.

Starting a business is not easy and your family must both be on your side and also lend you support. Initially, especially in the early days, you could often find yourself away from your family for long, unsocial hours. Those regular holidays and other treats may have to go by the wayside for a while. Your personal income will become erratic. Their understanding and support be invaluable.

Family members can also be an invaluable means of practical support to the business. Even if it is only answering the phone, taking repeat orders, purchasing repeat product or arranging the banking, it is time you do not have to spend. Also it is likely to be sporadic part time duties for which you will probably not be able to employ someone and for which you may not be able to pay enough.

You must appreciate that in becoming self-employed you will lose the comfort of having a regular income, at least in the early days. There will be times when you will have very positive cash flow but also times when money is short. Therefore during times of shortage you must be prepared to do without some luxuries for both yourself, your family and your business.

You will need to find the best way to advertise your business within your marketing budget. The advent of the internet age has radically changed the way we look for businesses these days. With all forms of advertising media, there are a lot of options available. Needless to say despite the well-rehearsed sales script you will undoubtedly receive, and the claims made, you will need to take care when purchasing advertising media and you will need to carefully monitor the results. Be wary of claims made in often unsolicited telephone calls. At best they can be economical with the truth, at worst they can lie!

Which type of business style you adopt will depend on a number of factors. There is no one type that is correct from the outset. It is always possible to switch from one type to another throughout your business life.

How can we help?

Initial and professional advice before stepping into the world of business can be invaluable. We can help you determine how you establish your business entity and identity. We can also help you plan and ask searching questions to help you ensure you do not become a statistic of failure.

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Feel free to get in touch with us any time.