For many people, starting up their own business sounds like the ideal; a dream come true, but it can also feel like the scariest thing imaginable if you’ve worked for a company all your life. Nadine Bourne from XLN Business Services shares some advice on how you can overcome your fears.
Of course, it’s not going to be easy – a very high proportion of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) fail in their first year, and the lack of job security at a time of global recession can be very off-putting.
But you shouldn’t be afraid to work for yourself. Below are five of the most common excuses people give when denying themselves their dream of being their own boss.
I don’t even know where to start!
Decide what you’d like your company to do. Pick a name, make sure nobody else has it, and then register with HMRC and tell them that you’re starting a business. Now you have no excuse.
All right, so there’s a little more to it than that, but you can learn along the way. Talk to people who are already running a small business and try not to repeat the mistakes that they made when setting up. You can also pick up some helpful tips in this mini guide to starting your own business.
I don’t know how to get clients.
This is one of those situations where you’ll get back as much as you put in. With so much of the world on the web now, you might be tempted to concentrate your efforts on search engine optimisation, blogging and social networking, and it’s true that these things are important.
But don’t neglect your physical presence. If you want to make an impression, send a letter or make a phone call. Or better yet, schedule a meeting in person People get hundreds of emails every day, and you can stand out by avoiding this mode of communication.
I’m saving up to get started.
A fine reason to delay setting up for a year, but any longer than that and it turns into an excuse. Plus, there’s no escaping the fact that one of the best times to start working on your businesses is while you’re in full time employment. It means giving up your evenings and weekends, so be prepared to work really hard at first, but it’s worth it for that moment when you can finally pack in the 9-5 drudgery.
I’m worried about paying the bills.
This is where a good work ethic comes in handy. A good sole trader is always looking for the next income, and you’ll have to if your business is going to survive. Chase up every opportunity possible opportunity and don’t rest on your laurels. Even if you own a shop, you need to be looking for ways to expand your customer base.
I’m scared the business will take over my life.
Starting your own business is tough. As well as providing the actual service, you also have to do all of your own marketing, networking and administration or find a group of people to help you out along the way. But as long as you’re doing something that you’re passionate about, you won’t mind putting in a few extra hours.
Provided you’re disciplined, you can still enjoy the freedom that comes from working as a sole trader. You’ll certainly have an idea of what the answer will be when you approach your boss for time off.