WORKING FOR YOURSELF

Is it because you have a fantastic business idea bubbling away inside you? Perhaps there is a service, a product or a concept with which you could address a gap in the market. If you do, you must have some doubts to be thinking about it and not doing it.

Or is it because you have a curious attraction to the concept of starting your own business? If you do, you may have the energy and attitude to run a successful business – so read on!

Most people considering starting a business fall into one of the above categories. They either have a business proposition which they believe has market appeal, or they have the enthusiasm for the autonomy of ownership or management. (remember evidence have shown that en

Those that have both are typically not considering starting a business – they already have!

If you’re still reading, you may be halfway there. How might you consider progressing things further?

Got the idea but not the motivation?
Consider what is putting you off. In most cases, the obstacles are likely to be “risk” based. Progressing your idea may be outside your comfort zone, take up too much time or cost too much. You may be uncertain as to how the market will accept your idea. To progress, you need to reduce your perception of these risks. Information is crucial here. The more information you can gather from contacts or research, the more confident you are likely to become about managing the risks.

As your business proposition becomes stronger through research, you may feel more comfortable about dealing with your original concerns. Alternatively, you may identify routes to solving some of your concerns by working with a business partner, engaging an experienced advisor or testing the operation within a lower-risk, trial period.

Either way, balancing the known risks with the excitement of the potential rewards might be the trigger to generate some real motivation and the energy to start your own business.

Got the motivation but not the idea?
If this is the case, be prepared for perspiration rather than inspiration. Typically, ideas will originate from an environment you know well and probably enjoy. The trigger which creates opportunity is often initiated by change – perhaps due to the economic climate, political policy, environmental concern, regulatory reform, technological development, demographic trends, lifestyle changes, consumer tastes or public opinion, loss of employment.

The four steps to consider are:

  1. Identify your sphere of interest
  2. Research drivers of change
  3. Consider the problems that change may create
  4. Assess whether there is a business opportunity in providing a solution

Potential Pitfalls

The main reasons why so many small businesses fail in the first few months are:

1. Lack of aims and objectives

2. Poor marketing and market research

3. Too much start-up capital expenditure

4. Wrong location

5. Cash-flow problems

6. Lack of management skills

7. Bad planning

8. Accounting and monitoring ignorance

Key areas where mistakes can happen that lead to energy spent needlessly or worse still, failure are:

Whether to buy or rent property?

  • Renting ties up less capital which means you can invest it in the business instead and allows flexibility to relocate.
  • Buying provides an investment vehicle and possible subletting opportunities.

Questions to consider are:

  • Finding the right premises: location, size, accessibility, finance
  • Enterprise agencies
  • Types of rental agreement, opt-out clauses and rent reviews
  • Your responsibilities as a tenant, including alterations
  • Meeting minimum workplace standards

Questions to consider are:

  • Carrying out a risk assessment and providing training, equipment, notices
  • Providing clean toilets and sanitation facilities
  • Meeting fire safety standards and first aid facilities
  • Ensuring employees use IT equipment safely
  • Reporting accidents or dangerous incidents in the workplace to the relevant authorities
  • Creating and operating a health and safety policy detailing how you are going to manage health and safety issues

Invoicing and payment terms can be key to a healthy cash-flow

Questions to consider are:

  • Maintaining monthly cash flow projections, always anticipate and plan
  • Ensuring your customers understand how much they need to pay and when they must settle up
  • The information you are required by law to include in an invoice

Employing people taking on staff and your obligations to them

Questions to consider are:

  • Recruiting, contracts and induction
  • Employing different types of worker
  • Pay and pensions
  • Equal opportunities and diversity
  • Health, safety and working environment
  • Employee representatives and trade unions
  • Skills and training
  • Disciplinary problems, disputes and grievances, dismissals

Protecting intellectual property this could be the name of your business, copyright, designs, patents and trade-marks

Questions to consider are:

  • Is your IP a valuable asset?
  • Securing and protecting it
  • Your rights and how the law can help you

Sales and marketing

Questions to consider are:

  • Maximise your ability to sell
  • Online Selling
  • Selling and the law
  • Pricing
  • Retaining customers

Marketing your business

  • Choosing, auditing and penetration of a channel
  • Branding and design

Professional advisers

Questions to consider are:

  • How to engage a professional adviser
  • Who to select, comparisons
  • What is expected from both parties
  • Agreeing terms, clear and precise with timescale

Insurances

If someone is injured or their property is damaged, the person or business responsible may be sued and held legally liable for the injury or property damage.

Questions to consider are:

  • Public and employers liability
  • Professional indemnity insurance
  • Vehicle, premises, stock, health etc

Conclusion:

Remember that entrepreneurs do not necessary make much money. In fact they make less considering the risk they have taken. Entrepreneurs often face a choice between managing their venture and making money. Those who don’t figure out which is more important to them often end up neither wealthy nor satisfied.