Running a small business can be liberating, rewarding and fulfilling. You may have dreamed about being your own boss. Maybe you were overloaded, overwhelmed and unappreciated at work. Whatever the reason, you just knew you needed to make a change – setting up on your own is certainly not impossible. Every year, thousands of people just like you fulfil their dreams, and start up their own small business.
However, not every new small business is a winner. Many fail and close within the first one or two years, so it’s important that your own expectations are realistic. Before you make any moves towards starting in business, it’s a good idea to ask yourself a pretty basic question. ‘Why do I really want to do it?’ Understand the answer to that, and you should be able to make your decisions in a cool-headed and realistic way.
Here are some typical scenarios – do these apply to you?
I want to escape from my job…
…or my boss, or my workplace, or my colleagues. This is certainly a starting point, and many people do go into self-employment in order to achieve independence. You need to be aware though, that the urge to escape is usually not enough on its own. You will need more positive motivations to enable you to drive your enterprise towards success.
I want to make lots of money.
A prime motivator, and some entrepreneurs do indeed make large profits in a short space of time – these are the ones you usually hear about in the news. Do you have some brilliant and previously undiscovered scheme (such as a magic money tree!)? Probably not, so you need to be prepared. Breaking-even may be the best you can hope for at first. Financial losses are also a frequent event in the run-up to becoming established and profitable.
You may have already given up your day job in order to work for yourself. This could mean you’ve lost that cushion of a guaranteed income to fall back on, before your own profits start to flow. Are you really prepared for the financial consequences, both to yourself and to your family, of going it alone?
I want to be my own boss.
Your boss works you too hard and makes your life difficult. The obvious answer is to be your own boss, and solve the problem, right? Well, not really. Working for yourself doesn’t usually mean an easy life doing exactly as you please all day. The most successful businesses satisfy (and try to exceed) the expectations of their customers. You could argue that your customers will be your ‘bosses’, and you will be working solely to keep them happy. Day, after day, after day.
Unhappy customers usually go elsewhere pretty quickly. The pressure to keep customers satisfied and on-board can be much higher than the pressure that any traditional boss can lay on you. If it’s your business, you are responsible for everything that your business achieves. Failures as well as successes rest on your shoulders. You will probably have to work long hours in order to gain (and maintain) success.
So, do you still want to set up a small business?
We don’t want to put you off the idea. We simply want you to think about aspects of running your own small business before you commit to your future path. Other articles on this site address other factors in starting up and running a small business.
If you would like even further information, the government services and information portal is a good place to start: www.gov.uk has a category headed ‘business and self-employed’, where you will find practical tools and common-sense guidance for small businesses.
For more information on this subject email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the form below, and we’ll see if we can help you to make an informed decision.