People start their own business for a variety of reasons, they have a brilliant idea they are sure will be the next must-have or must-do; a new mum who decides she just can’t go back to a 9 to 5 job and leave her child at home; redundancy and deciding you will be your own boss, the list is long. One thing applies to all starting on that journey – be prepared. Do the homework.
Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to be passionate about your new career. In fact being overly passionate may make you blind to reality. You do have like what you are doing, enjoy what you are doing, find it interesting and above all believe in what you want to do, otherwise why would you put in all the hours to make your business a success.
Do assess your interests and see if they match your skills and knowledge, will the combination actually be financially rewarding? Can you grow the business or will you be a sole trader? If you are not sure what you really want to do, a business coach or career transition coach has the skills to talk you through your options.
Once you have decided your niche, what your new career will be you need to work with a business coach and/or accountant to work on a business plan. Yes, you can download templates from the internet but it is best to work through the whole process with a professional, they will know all the boxes needing a tick. Plan for the best case and particularly the worst case scenario.
When looking for cohorts for your business, decide at the outset do you need employees or a partner, it will make a big difference. Whichever is more suitable one thing stays the same, work with the best people you possibly can. Do not let your ego get in the way, we can always learn from someone else and if you have good people around you, you too will also look good, real good.
Mark Suster an entrepreneur has a great piece of advice – “Good Judgment Comes from Experience, but Experience Comes from Bad Judgment.” Learn from your mistakes, you will make them but you need to recognise them, embrace them and don’t make them again, at least not too often.
Know when to step back, you can get too close to “your baby” and then you can’t see the proverbial wood for the trees. Be involved but not too involved.
Know when to outsource. You don’t always need to employ someone to get the job done and at times it is good business sense to have a contractor/consultant who is really good at what they do, do the job for you.
Recognise the optimum time to grow, again a business coach, a mentor, your accountant is there for advice. As a start-up finance can be a difficult proposition as you can’t tick all the boxes for a bank and you don’t want venture capital, it is still your baby. Factoring or debtor finance is a good option and Factors love working with start-ups. The flexibility they offer, as the business grows is real bonus.
Establish solid relationships among your peers, customers, suppliers and those who provide you with professional services, you never know when you may need any or all of them and they are great to be with when you celebrate your successes.