In his column this month, Jat Mann talks about the pros and cons of starting your own business, and what to expect.
Creating a small business is a dream for many people and many do make a success of it.
This can be repairing computers, building websites or making cupcakes. Running a business means dealing with many issues simultaneously, which can feel a lot like keeping all the plates spinning at once and dashing from one emergency to another.
As a business owner, you are singularly responsible for everything that happens in your business. This includes hiring and firing staff, ensuring bills are paid, ordering stock, chasing suppliers for deliveries… the list goes on and on.
There is no such thing as a typical day running a business and there aren’t enough hours in the day to achieve everything. Running a business was not something that was taught at school (I think this is being addressed now) and like becoming a parent for the first time, nothing quite prepares you for the onslaught of emotions and necessity to quickly learn new skills.
From my personal experience, the step into the unknown to start my own business is a step that I wish I had taken earlier. However, the skills I acquired while in employment have helped enormously, coupled with my desire to keep on learning and evolving.
There are many factors to consider, such as finances, support from family and friends, the economy, and even the location and weather. However, there is one factor that is often too far down the list of priorities, yet is a fundamental pillar upon which to build a successful business – the customer.
Business owners have to understand that they need to sell goods or services – and they need to be able to do this while making profit and remaining sustainable.
So my top tip this month is before making any decision about leaving the relative comfort of paid employment, put yourself in the shoes of your potential customer and ask yourself: what do they want to buy and can you make or provide the product?
Keep expectations low but standards high and above all else, ensure your immediate family are right behind you in the decision – you’ll need their support. It could be the best thing you ever do.
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