For many of us, running our own business is the ultimate dream. What’s not to love? No boss breathing down your neck, the chance to work flexible hours and enjoy a better work-life balance while earning a good living. The reality can be very different – what if you simply end up working longer for less?
Before taking the plunge, it’s worth auditing your own skills and experience; even if you’re well suited to self-employment, you’re sure to be a better match for some businesses than others. Narrow down your options from the start and your search is likely to be much more fruitful.
Are You a Planner?
Whatever your preferred business route, you’ll have to consider setting goals and establishing strategies that will help you to achieve them. If you intend to borrow money to finance your business, you’ll need to produce a detailed and credible business plan that shows you’ve done your homework and can provide credible evidence that it will work. Only by working methodically through the process, digging deep into market research and indulging in a lot of number-crunching will you be in a position to create a workable road map for your venture. If your idea of planning is a few notes on the back of a napkin, you may want to reconsider buying a business.
Are You Made of the Right Stuff?
Be honest about your personal qualities. Are you good at problem-solving? Are you organised and detail-oriented? Can you work well under your own steam? Can you manage others? As a new business owner, your mettle will be tested on a daily basis and you’ll need reserves of strength to draw on during tough times. You should also be prepared to work harder than ever before – and be willing (at least in the early stages) to sacrifice some family and leisure time, as well as the luxury of a regular pay packet. Are you ready to step up?
Do You Have the Skills and Expertise You Need?
If you dream of running a café, it will help if you have some basic catering experience and food hygiene training; likewise, if being in charge of a day nursery is your thing, a qualification in child care is a good place to start. If you fancy a complete change of profession, investigate opportunities for retraining so that you’re well prepared for the next stage of your career. Equally important is the need to choose a business that meets your lifestyle expectations. If you like to have your evenings to yourself, managing a pub may not be the best option, while a dog-grooming parlour may be just the ticket.
Some entrepreneurs build their businesses out of a personal passion, others opt to buy one that’s already established. All successful businesses share common features, though – notably owners with the skills, strength and sheer doggedness that’s needed to steer them through good and bad times. Running a business is more long-haul adventure than a weekend break but if you have the talent, ambition and the determination to succeed, as well as the common sense and resilience to take the ups and downs in your stride, it could be the best decision you’ll ever make.