Small Business Start-ups: Steps to Help You Quit Your Day Job
Many people have aspirations for starting their own business and if recent figures are a reliable indication, the number of self-employed business owners and entrepreneurs is on the rise.
The question that looms large when considering this break from full-time employment is just when should you make the move and what do you need to be ready for when you finally take the plunge?
Asking the right questions
The attraction of going from a day job to a dream job is clear for all to see and the opportunity to be your own boss and take charge of your financial and personal destiny through your work, draws many people towards the idea of starting their own business.
There are definitely some important questions that you need to ask yourself before taking the step of handing in your resignation.
You need to consider whether your decision to leave a paid job and take up self-employment is going to make you a happier person. As long as you truly believe that it is going to make you happier running your own business, that can be all the motivation you might need.
Timing is an important aspect. If you are planning on starting a family or have regular commitments like a mortgage that you need to cover, you need to know that you have enough capital to see you through the early stages of building your business.
Gaining the support of family and friends is a consideration that is often overlooked. You are the one starting a new business, but knowing that your network of friends and family are behind you all the way, does make a difference.
Stick to what you know
A number of successful business owners put their success down to sticking to what they know and what they are good at.
You may dream of opening a restaurant or coffee shop and there is no reason why you might not be able to make a success of it, but having some experience beforehand in what your business is offering will often make a huge difference and make the transition to self-employment seem a bit easier.
If you have a specific set of business skills such as training experience, setting up a training consultancy and using an existing set of contacts to attract your first set of customers for the business will be more straightforward and potentially profitable than trying to start over in an area of expertise where you don’t have an edge over the competition.
If you need to borrow money, you will need a business plan to show your lender how you are going to repay the loan.
Even if you have enough capital and don’t require financial assistance, you will still need to draw up a viable business plan. It can be a simple document, as long as it contains the vital components, such as a sales and marketing plan. Also, a cashflow forecast, so that you know how much you need to earn to be profitable and cover your bills.
If you are planning on taking payments by card from your customers, make sure that you get set up beforehand to take card payments by using a service like Merchant Services UK. It is amazing how many people open their doors for business without having the facilities in place to be able to take payments from customers, however they want to pay.
Finding an edge
One of the keys to making your business successful is finding a way to add value so that you stand out from the crowd and provide an edge by offering a service or product that customers want at a price that is attractive to them.
Always ask for feedback from new and existing customers and regular dialogue like this with any customer is likely to reap rewards, as they will feel wanted and appreciated and by listening to their needs and opinions, you can find an edge that helps you to grow your business.
Flexibility and persistence
It is understandable that as soon as you open your doors for business, you want things to take off immediately.
The reality is often quite different and you may sometimes have to wait a little while to see how customers respond to your latest business idea, product or service.
Having a flexible approach to your work/life balance will also help. If that means altering your business hours to fit around a customer’s needs or deadline, that will help you to win and retain customers and grow your business.
There are many questions to be answered and plans to make when you are considering setting up your own business, but get it right and you will wonder why you didn’t quit the day job a long time ago.