1. Overview

Starting a business of your own is a huge and exciting challenge. This section outlines some of the key things you should consider before you take that big step.

2. Is self-employment for you?

Starting a business can be rewarding and invigorating, but it can also be risky and challenging. The survival rate for start ups is low – it is estimated that up to one third of new business fail in their first year. However, the good news is that many new starts do survive and those that seek support and guidance have an even better chance of success.

This guide outlines some of the key things you should consider before you take that big step.

Running a successful business and being your own boss can be exciting, rewarding and liberating.

It also has its ups and downs and surprises.

You have to make decisions on your own in all sorts of areas, often with limited information or knowledge.

  • you may have to work long hours, particularly in the early stages
  • you need to be determined, self-reliant and able to motivate yourself
  • some people thrive on this sort of challenge, but it’s not for everyone

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages for you to consider:

Advantages

 

Disadvantages

 

Financial Rewards

Personal satisfaction

Long unsociable hours

Financial pressure

Freedom

Sense of achievement

Stress

Responsibility

Flexibility

Being in control

24/7 - no escape

Fluctuating income

Rising to the challenge

Job security

Juggling everything

Facing the unknown

Are you cut out for self-employment?

Review the advantages and disadvantages of self-employment and ask yourself:

  • do I really want to operate independently and be the person making all the decisions and shouldering the responsibility?
  • am I willing to put in the hours and make the sacrifices necessary to start a business?
  • do I have the self-confidence and self-discipline to persevere and build my new business into a success?

If you answered No - You’re probably not ready to start a business.

If you answered Yes - You’re ready to think seriously about starting a business.

3. Assess your personal qualities

Whatever type or size of business you are thinking of starting up, all business owners need to have a whole range of skills and abilities. In this section we look at some typical characteristics of successful business people. You can then consider whether you have what it takes.

Do you have what it takes?

Spend a few minutes doing the exercise ‘Assess Your Personal Qualities’ (MS word 14kb). It’s a simple quiz that will help you think about yourself and your suitability for running your own business.

Good luck! 

4. Evaluate your business skills

Running a business is a demanding task. Most businesses start up with just one person and, as the business owner, you will most likely be doing the bulk of the work yourself. This means that as well as having the right personal qualities, you also need to have some business knowledge and skills.

No matter what type or size of business you run, there are some skills you can’t do without if you want to manage your business effectively. These are:

  • general business management
  • financial management
  • sales and marketing
  • operations
  • administration

Use this Business Skills Action Plan (MS Word 13kb) to assess your current level of business skills.

Think about the things you have done in the past, either in previous jobs or in your everyday life. Now think about how those experiences can help you in your business.

If there are specific business skills that you need to improve, update or develop, there are numerous courses and programmes available. By developing the necessary skills you are building a firm foundation for your business.

 

Next: Developing Your Business Idea