We all dream of running a successful business, one that allows us the flexibility to work the hours we want from wherever we want. But before you rush out and quit your job, it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons carefully and objectively.
Starting your own business is an exciting prospect, but it’s also one that’s filled with uncertainty, risk and lots of hard work. So before you take the plunge, make sure to ask yourself whether starting a business is really the right thing for you?
When starting a new business, it’s easy to underestimate the hours you’ll need to put in and the multitude of hats you’ll need to wear.
While you may be responsible for a few duties at your job, starting a business means you’re responsible for every aspect of it, which is why you’ll inevitably find yourself devoting (non-billable) time each month to business activities you never had to do as an employee. From billing and accounting, to marketing and advertising, the multitude of new roles and responsibilities can be overwhelming.
The general rule is that you need three people to run a business, and until you can afford to employ people, you need to be all three.
First, there’s ‘the entrepreneur’. This is the person with the vision; the one with the unique idea and the guts to go for it and put things into action.
Then there’s ‘the manager’. This is someone who has the capacity to see the big picture, but at the same time knows all the detail and is able to get the best out of people. This person is vital to setting up business structures and processes, ensuring that the business develops as a robust, sustainable and profitable enterprise.
Lastly, there is ‘the technician’, or the ‘doing’ person. If you’re starting a marketing agency, this is the person that delivers the work to your client. If you’re starting a bakery, the technician is the one that is happiest making the cakes.
Many people start a business as they’re passionate about one, or even two, of these roles. But make sure that you are prepared to play all three (at least to start with) if you hope to make your startup a success.
Besides time, the other major resource you’ll need to start your business is undoubtedly money. This can be hugely stressful when you have bills and mortgages to pay, so it’s important to always keep a safety net of savings in case of tough times.
Before you take the entrepreneurial leap, make sure you have a clear plan of how you’re going to fund your business and when you can expect to earn your first revenue. Keep in mind that cash flow problems are a major reason why so many startups fail and always remember that it will take time and hard work to reliably generating the money you want.
Be clear and realistic of how much time (and money) you will need to invest before you start seeing returns. And as we’re optimists by nature, it’s a good rule of thumb to always double your estimated timelines, to make sure that you have enough savings to float you through the tough times.
Now you can get started with open eyes and if you'd like a little help grab our free Start A Business Toolkit, you can get it here.
HANNA GIRLING, wife, mother, business owner, mindset coach, sport enthusiast and forever an optimist.