I was in the tax business a long time as an employee, and in the corporate world we were also in the “business advisory” sector. As someone who has run businesses for some time, I realise how fundamentally useless the so called “business adviser” employees were, because really you don’t understand small business life until you have run a small business. And by small business I don’t mean one within the SME broad brush. I mean one with just a few employees, or with no employees and a few contractors, or one which is essentially just a self-employment.
I know that one-person bands are sometimes described as not real businesses (I think that is unfair) but one-person bands up to businesses with twenty to fifty employees face many of the same challenges. Yes, there is always a danger of generalising but most of those face the same sort of market.
Over the Christmas period I was able to chat with some of my former colleagues who still work for larger organizations, though some are in the same market as my rather smaller businesses. I know that some years ago a few thought about going independent, but in the current economic climate they say that they will hang on to their jobs. I think that is wise.
It’s cold out there
Starting your own business is at the best of times challenging. You need:
- Some money for essentials
- A plan of action (different from a business plan for the bank)
- Marketing (where most ex-employees fall down whether former “business advisers”or not)
- A good accounting system
- The drive to succeed
- Room for you in the market
The last is so important. So many established and formerly very successful businesses are under pressure. People are not buying new kitchens and bathrooms. They are not having their gardens landscaped. They are not visiting High Street gift shops or hot food takeaways in the numbers they did five years ago. Actually they are not visiting High Streets so much at all, economizing on fuel and price by buying essentials in big supermarkets; one-stop shops. Retail has moved on-line anyway.
Realism is sensible
Much as I love to encourage start-ups, room for you in the marketplace is the most important consideration right now. If you have a job you should hang on to it unless you have a really Big Idea. It would need to be an innovation where you can make your own space in the market, or you should be confident you have special expertise and know there is a shortage of it. It is no good trying to do what many others are already doing.
If you have a start-up, I will be pleased to help you. If you have lost your job and would like me to put my thinking cap on for you, give me a call. If you have had the Big Idea you know where I am.