Many of us have been inspired to start our own business at some stage in our lives – and this desire can be particularly strong at the start of a new year. But while you might dream of being your own boss, having a great idea doesn’t mean you’re ready to quit your day job just .
Plan properly and manage expectation
Here we speak to business coach Clare Habel, the founder of Inspiring Futures (Inspiringfutures.biz), about her experiences alongside her tips on some of the key questions you should ask yourself before taking the leap.
“While many people are keen to break out from the 9-5 and do something they are passionate about, the key is to plan properly and mange expectations,” she says. “If not, these high hopes can unfortunately quite quickly turn into disappointments, frustrations and failure. A little consideration of the potential pitfalls can really help aspiring entrepreneurs get that much closer to achieving their dream business.”
Questions you need to ask yourself
What’s my goal? “Be very specific about what you’re setting out to achieve,” says Habel. “Once you are working in your business, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. For example, will success be measured purely in profit, or by other measures – such as the amount of time you will be able to take off, or the type of ratings or reviews you may receive? Make your goals as detailed as you possibly can. This can give you the motivation to keep driving yourself forward when you hit setbacks.”
Am I happy balancing passion with practicalities? “If you are quitting your job to work at something you love, this is great,” says Habel. “But one big ‘red flag’ is that running a business entails so many different roles that many people driven to work solely on their passion – such as being a photographer – can get bogged down by the amount of time they need to spend on doing their accounts and admin. If you go in with your eyes open, you’re much more likely to be a business that goes the distance.”
Should I quit the day job? “The answer is probably not yet,” says Habel. “This leap can be counter-productive until you’ve done all your research – and perhaps dabbled a bit with trialling your business – as it can leave people without the financial resources to really give their business startup the time it needs to become profitable.”
Am I ready to invest in this? “While you may be new to the area of work that you are choosing to start a business in, you don’t want to look like an amateur,” says Habel. “Don’t do yourself an injustice by designing your own logo and presenting your businesses to the world in a sub-standard way. Be prepared to invest in strong branding and marketing.”
What am I good at? “Running a business requires a range of skills and areas of expertise, but you need to accept that not all of these areas are going to be your forte,” says Habel. “Where possible, consider delegating out some areas of work to someone expert in that area.”
A few other questions that can prove useful:
- Am I enough of a self-starter for this?
- What am I genuinely concerned about?
- Do I really believe in this idea?
- Am I doing this to avoid something else – or because I genuinely want to do this?
- What’s the worst that can happen? And if that happens, what will I do?
- Is this idea unique – or unique enough?
- Am I happy to make sacrifices in the short-term to achieve my goal?
A smarter approach
Making the decision to quit your job and start your own business is not something that should be taken lightly.
But if you plan carefully, your efforts should pay off, as taking a smarter and more considered approach will help ensure the survival of your small business in the long run.
When starting your own business, it also pays to ensure you have the right software in place, such as Intuit QuickBooks – find out more about its online accounting packages with a free trial.