So you’ve decided to start your own business? For most of us who make the decision to work for ourselves, it’s an exciting if somewhat daunting proposition. There are many things to consider before you take the leap.

The first thing is that you really need to do something you love. As with any creative project, there is little point taking risks if you’re not investing in something you believe in, wholeheartedly. It’s going to be hard work. Are you sure the sector you’ve picked is the one you want to specialise in?

It’s also a good idea to get some advice before you go any further. And not just advice from your best friend. You should be talking to people who understand and have experienced what you’re about to embark on. Talk to other entrepreneurs. People who have succeeded at it but also those who have failed. You want to get useful tips on how to proceed, but it’s also worth getting feedback on what not to do.

It may be that you want to start a business in partnership with someone. That can be a good thing, so you’re not going it alone. On the other hand, there are risks involved too in partnering. Think about that before you begin. Just as good friends don’t always travel well together, getting along socially doesn’t mean you’ll be good business partners.

You’ve heard the expression ‘don’t give up you day job yet’? Well, that’s reasonable advice. For those among us who’ve dreamed of becoming the next J.K. Rowling, or of becoming an international pop star, that advice makes a lot of sense. The same goes for starting a business. Don’t put all your eggs into that entrepreneurial basket until you know it’s going to sustain you financially.

One thing you might want to do is hook up with a few clients first. If you’re planning to run your own business, the first thing you need to do is get networking. Connecting with people is a big part of the job description. Build those relationships and secure that first contract. That initial foothold is important as it will give you confidence, and let other potential clients know you are in business.

You may have never written a business plan, and you may not be much of an accountant. If that’s the case, things are about to change. You need to learn about business management, or at the very least be partnering with someone who does. Going about building a business professionally involves identifying and researching the market, writing up a business plan, and calculating your overheads. You need a clear map of where you’re heading.

You’re almost there. One more thing. Set yourself a list of questions. Draw two columns, with pros and cons. Pretend you’re sitting a job interview. You are the interviewer and the potential candidate. Ask yourself: why am I the right candidate for the job? What’s my motivation? Do I have the necessary qualifications? See how you go.

Once all that is done, it’s time to get started. The risks remain, but you’ve set yourself up nicely and given yourself a fighting chance to succeed. Running your own business is challenging but it is also hugely rewarding to be your own boss. There will be other things to consider along the way – how to maintain a work-life balance, how to build up your clientele, how to make the most of social media – but you can build these considerations into your planning as you go. Don’t be afraid to seek advice along the way, and to read up on what you’re doing. We live in an age of information, and there is no shortage of useful knowledge out there to draw upon.

Comment