Starting A Business: Still Crazy After All These Years?
When I decided to start my first business many years ago, I can clearly remember several people who I worked with (in a large corporate) telling me that I was crazy, and that I’d be knocking on the door asking for my job back in 6 months’ time. Roll forwards several years and still in business, many people told me how they thought I must have been brave to start my own business.
Here’s some ways you can mitigate the risk. It’s not an exhaustive list, and any entrepreneur worth his or her salt will be able to add to this list to suit their own particular circumstances.
- Honestly evaluate the market for your product or service. Is the opportunity real and how easy will it be to prove the business model?
- Who are your competitors? If there are none, you’ve either hit upon an amazing opportunity that no-one has yet thought about, or it’s worrying as it might mean that there isn’t a significant market for what you’re going to be selling. How are you going to compete against them, what are your USP’s and how are you going to generate business?
- Work out a realistic business plan, keeping sales significantly less that you might hope for and make sure the model still works.
- Challenge all the costs you think you will need in your business in the early stages. Think like a small business owner, not like a manager in someone else’s business. If you need to incur the cost, can you make it variable in some way? For example can you work from home instead of renting premises, can you do a deal with someone you know who has their own office that allows you to work from their premises and pay them rent as a percentage of sales you achieve? Think out of the box.
- How much income do you need to live on for the first 6 or 12 months? Does your partner’s income cover outgoing costs or have you got savings you can use or a bank loan you can safely take? What other costs will you incur that you have not anticipated? If you sell nothing, and decide to go back to the employed world in a year’s time, how much will it have cost you?
- Test the idea whilst you are still employed, do a low cost soft-launch, use your spare time and/or that of your partner or other family members to see if it’s going to work. If possible use social media such as twitter/ facebook et al to help search related ideas or to test market reaction to the idea.
- Investigate what cost and time saving Cloud / Mobile computing options you can exploit to fit the business in with your budget / lifestyle.
If you decide it’s worth a go – then do it. After all if you decide not to, do you want to always wonder what would have happened if you had? If you are wrong you can always get another job. However, if in your heart you know that it’s not your thing and you don’t really have the urge to run your own show, then don’t do it. Because it’s a fulltime, and I mean fulltime commitment, it’s not a 9-5 job.
And when you are successful, remember it won’t be because you were crazy or brave, it’ll be because you were lucky (or so everyone will tell you). But we know the truth….