When you form a startup you’ll enjoy the perks of being your own boss, but self-employment has its own challenges to overcome. How can you steer clear of pitfalls to climb the startup mountain?
Freedom to be your own boss
You’ll get to set your own working hours and have the chance to create a working environment that increases your productivity. If you’re not a morning person, you don’t have to be – so long as you’ve accomplished your workload in a way that brings you personal and business satisfaction. It hardly needs saying that being your own boss means there’s no-one to tell you what to do (although, of course, you might be a more exacting boss because it’s your passion driving the business forward.)
The luxury to start small while thinking big
Your passion and vision are vital to the success of your business, and they will help to make it a pleasure to get up for work every day. However, you don’t have to become a Dragon’s Den horror story by taking out a business loan you’ll struggle to repay. You can test-drive your big idea as a hobby. You can take your time to research and tweak that vision into a viable business plan. You can even cushion your finances by doing another paid job at the same time, while ensuring your accounts and tax returns are all in order. Depending on the nature of your business, you can also use your home as your business premises to reduce operation costs. Friends, family and free (or very cheap) online promotional tools like website builders and social media accounts can all help you to build your brand without vast initial expense. There are many different routes into a successful start-up, so take time to explore options that allow you to live the dream while paying the rent.
Have you considered funding possibilities? Research could reveal countless organisations that may be in a position to help, from the National Lottery Funding Finder to the New Enterprise Allowance. Funding opportunities can vary by sector. For example, these organisations offer grants to social enterprises and community projects. Do an online search for “Angel Investors” and you’ll outfits like Angel’s Den, a network that links people with great ideas to those willing to invest in them. You can also look into crowdfunding, which can work well for your business if you have a must-have product to sell.
Plotr’s beginner’s guide to self-employment will point out that the key challenges relate to finance and the responsibility that comes with being your own boss. These include:
So what can you do to overcome or manage the consequences of these challenges?
Come up with a researched business plan
You know what they say… knowledge is power. The key to a successful business is research, so you need to do your homework. Have you researched your market to ensure there’s sufficient demand for what you plan to offer at the price you plan to offer it for? Have you created a solid business plan? Have you researched your competitors?
Talk to someone
You need to set your business up in a way that won’t land you in legal or financial hot water later on, so visit Set Up a Business on GOV.UK for full details on how to register your business and much more. They signpost people and organisations who can give you help and support, too.
Knowledge is power
When you set up a business you have to wear many hats. CEO, Head of Sales, Production Manager, Accountant… the likelihood is that they’re all you.
Where are the gaps in your knowledge? You’ll find countless offline and online courses all over the UK that help you bridge those gaps in a time period that works for you, whether it’s a compressed full-time course or a course spread out over a number of evenings or weekends.
Some useful business startup courses include:
You’ll find lots more ideas in the Hotcourses business start-up zone, so take a look.
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Magda Knight is the Online Editor at Plotr.