How To Be The Boss
You can bag the best seat, choose the hours you work and no one’s going to tell you off for gossiping by the water cooler. Many of us dream of starting our own business, but perks aside, doing so can be a daunting prospect. Turning your dreams into a career could be the best decision you’ve ever made, or the worst – it all depends on how you approach it. According to Phil Holland, founder of My Own Business (myownbusiness.org), a web-based organisation that provides free tutorials to budding entrepreneurs, increasing numbers of women are looking to start up on their own. “Back in the day, standard practice was to stay in one job for life. That no longer applies, so people are seeking other opportunities,” he says. Indeed, over 21 million people have visited his site - 45 per cent of whom are female. But how do you go from employee to employer? Dust off your power suit and follow Holland’s guide.
How to mean business
Get the right idea
“It might sound obvious, but you have to get the right business idea to begin with,” says Holland. “It’s a mistake if you’re going into it just for the purpose of ‘making money’ and that’s the criteria many people apply when deciding whether to take the leap. Choosing something you’re passionate about should be a priority as, when you run into bumps, if you’re doing something you love and are really good at, chances are you’ll stick with it.” Have a think about your hobbies and passions - could any of them be potential avenues?
Try before you buy
Quitting your job the moment you’re inspired by your fabulous new business plan is not the way forward. Leaving the security of your job too soon before your research has been done could mean you’ll fail before you’ve even started. Holland advises that the best way to determine the ‘workability factor’ of your idea is to work in that industry beforehand. “The concept that someone might have of how a business might run and the reality of it can be two very different things, and there’s so much knowledge to be gained from prior experience,” he says.
Research, research, and more research
Think of the bigger picture. So, you reckon your idea is a sure-fire hit, but cast your thoughts wider than that. As the head honcho you’ll need to brush up on other skills. “It’s important to have an understanding of all the disciplines that are going to be employed, for example, accounting,” says Holland. “Be clear about what you want to achieve and what to avoid, consider the dangers and weigh them against the benefits, assess the suitability of your idea against the current economic climate and keep analysing all of your options.”
You’ve done your research, and are 100% sure of the decisions you’ve made - so you must be ready to roll, right? Wrong. Rushing out into the market before you’ve had proper feedback isn’t a good idea. Holland suggests test marketing your product to see how people really react to it first. “As long as you start small and humbly, the current economic climate isn’t that relevant - what’s more important is what the business is about and how well that fits in. Don’t expect the profits to shoot up instantly, focus on keeping your business sustainable instead.”