People start businesses for different reasons. It might be to fulfill a dream such as running an art shop or an old-fashioned confectioners, or because they have been made redundant and think they are good enough at what they do to have the same type of business on their own.
There should always be certain factors our budding business people should think about. Will there be a demand for their product or service? If they are redundant from a company in which they used a similar skill to that which they will be using in their own business, the market may not be there; that would be why they were made redundant in the first place. In the latter scenario it might not be hopeless in that often larger corporates waste a lot of money which they reflect in higher charges so a small business run efficiently may be able to cut in to their remaining market. It needs thinking about.
Running a small business is hard at times. Small business owners have a lot of responsibility. Unlike in a larger corporate environment there are no safety nets if the owners can’t work I would not want to put people off, but all small business owners need to be able to deal with problems and think on their feet.
So, if we really want to run our own business, maybe we need to turn away from what we did before. Do we have an interest or a hobby we could turn into a business? Are we ex-insurance salespeople who are good at carpentry or kitchen installation? Are we former bank employees who are already into property letting and could become a letting agent? Are we tyre and exhaust fitters who know all about making and selling scale models of railway locomotives, aircraft or boats and could be a full-time EBay dealer?
I have started businesses myself; several of them. I was good at tax and started my own tax consultancy. It took a lot longer to be successful than I had thought it would. I learned to be flexible and start other businesses too, based on my “life skills”, to ease the pain.
Starting a business takes a lot of thinking about and I learned from my mistakes. I hope it can help to learn from my mistakes too rather than have to learn from your own.
© Jon Stow 2010