By Lyndsey Hall
Looking to make a big change in the New Year? Thinking about starting your own business? Here are 5 questions you should ask yourself before diving in head first:
- Are you a thinker or a doer?
Every business needs an ideas man, but just as crucial are the cold hard figures guys: the ones who make it possible for the dreamers to dream and the inventors to invent. Your first job is to work out which one you are, so that you can set about finding your counterpart – whether it be a business partner, adviser or accountant, you will need someone to balance out your skills if the business is going to have any chance of getting off the ground.
- What do you have that other businesses don’t?
What is your USP? It could be an innovative or niche product or service, or your own personal individuality – after all, people buy people. Do friends flock to you like the paparazzi to Lady Gaga? If so, you could be the ideal front man for your new venture. If you are more the shy and retiring type you might prefer to stand back and let your products do the talking. Making the decision now could save time later when you’re trying to build a brand and decide what you want your business to be known for.
- How do you deal with rejection?
Have you ever been fired? Yes? Believe it or not this could be a positive for someone looking to start their own business! Knowing how you deal with rejection is a big step towards handling the situation appropriately if your business starts to flounder or (heaven forbid) fail. If you are well known amongst friends for burying your head in the sand at the first sign of trouble it is better to acknowledge this now, so that if you begin to feel the same old behaviours creeping back in the face of a tough week in sales or a decidedly not-positive bank statement, you can recognise them straight away and tackle the problem head on.
- Are you adaptable?
Business owners are often required to wear more than one hat, occasionally even simultaneously. How are you at adapting to different situations? If you can go from talking facts and figures in a major board meeting with investors, to getting your hands dirty on the sales floor and coming face to face with the customers, to laughing about the trials and tribulations of running a successful company on the golf course (or in the pub, whichever you prefer) with little more than a change of clothes, then starting your own business could be the right move for you.
- Can you afford to take the leap right now?
With the economy said to be on the rise, now might look like the right time to set up in business, but is a recovering economy one in which to strike out on your own? New businesses can take years to become profitable, and with many consumers still incredibly cautious about where they spend their money, is your business offering the public something they can’t refuse? It’s important to be realistic and do your homework about your intended industry. This can be done in your part time whilst still working another job, but once you’re out there on your own you will need a support network of business and financial advisors to get you through those tricky early years. Have a good hard look at your finances, is now the time to start your own business? There are a number of options available to help new businesses find the financial support they need to get off the ground, including business loans, independent investors and crowdfunding. Your advisor will be able to help you decide which is the best option for you.
If you can answer all of these questions and still feel that this is the year to branch out on your own, then go for it! We’d love to hear from you, let us know your plans for your business in the New Year in the Comment box, or on Facebook and Twitter.