Saturday, June 9, 2012

Are you wondering if small business is for you?

Perhaps you're working for someone else and you've been feeling that your contributions are worth more than what you're being paid. Or you've been thinking you could do a better job than what your boss does. Or maybe you're working in the corporate world and not gaining the job satisfaction that you so fervently crave.

Or perhaps you're working in an organisation that is about to down-size and you're facing the uncertainty of possible retrenchment.

And you find yourself wondering whether small business might be right for you. Maybe even day-dreaming about the rewards and freedom that you would enjoy in running your own small business?....... Well if this is sounding a bit like you, then here's some things you might want to consider.

  • Be realistic when estimating start-up costs
Within two years of starting up, more than half of new small businesses fail. There are various reasons for this, but one of the main reasons is that the budding entrepreneur often under-estimates the cost of entry into the market and the amount of capital that is required. So make sure you do your sums and if in doubt with the figures, then be conservative. The operational costs of leasing, equipment, running expenses, and any labour and advertising costs for example. Estimate how long it will realistically be before you establish your customer base and therefore the period of time in which you may have to wait before you can expect to have a reasonably steady stream of cash flow

  • Three skill-sets that you require
Do you have the right skill-set, or can you acquire them? Michael Gerber in his book "The E-Myth Revisited" explains that the small business owner requires the ability to perform three types of roles - the Technician, the Manager and the Entrepreneur. As a technician, you might be a plumber, a builder, an accountant or some type of consultant - and you may have great technical skills. But if you can't plan and organise effectively - or if you can't sell and market effectively, then you probably won't succeed in small business. A great summary of his book can be found at E-Myth

  • Being your own boss
Having run my own corporate training business for more than twenty years now, let me say that there is great satisfaction in being your own boss. Yes, small business offers you the opportunity to be more independent and to be able to make the decisions you think are necessary to move the business forward. You have the chance to express your own creativity and to be as bold or as cautious as you want. But at the end of the day - you are accountable for all of the decisions you make and the measures of your success will be readily apparent to you.

Is your revenue increasing? Is your customer base expanding? Are you generating a level of profit that is needed to support your lifestyle and provide you with a fair return for the risks you are taking? Running your own business means no escaping from any bad decisions that you make ..... And you simply have to learn from the mistakes you will likely make - because you won't be able to afford to make the same mistake twice

Being self-employed requires that you be a self-starter. You need to possess both drive and a fair amount of inner resourcefulness to make things happen in your business. You might well be an expert in the products or services that you sell - but there will almost certainly be many other things about running and growing your business that will have to be learned. Are you committed to on-going self-improvement?

  • Risk versus reward
Yes, running a small business is attractive to many people - the allure of being in control of your destiny and the captain of your own ship. Personally, having in the past worked within the corporate arena, I could never return full time to working as an employee in that world. For me, there has been a deep satisfaction in growing and managing my own consulting business.

However, it is not for everyone. And nor is it without stress and considerable anxiety. Your fate can be somewhat tied to the health of the wider economy - just ask those who are struggling in the retail sector. And yet despite a tough economic environment, there are still people who find a way to navigate their small business through stormy weather and ultimately prosper.

If you are contemplating going into small business, then I would encourage you to do your homework and ensure that you carefully weigh up the potential risks versus rewards. If you are looking for a template to help you formulate a business plan, and perhaps help you consider what extra training you should undertake to prepare you for the world of small business - then have a look at Small Business Management
  • What time is it for you?

"There is the time for careful thought and contemplation, when options are considered, goals are formulated and plans are carefully developed. It is the time for thorough research and precise assessment of risk - when haste can be your enemy and recklessness your undoing.

And then there is a time for bold action - when courage and conviction are the qualities that must be called forth from deep within. When self-doubt cannot be allowed to undermine your commitment nor cause you to waver from your chosen direction.

And finally, there is the time for reflection - a time to enjoy the fruits of your labour and learn the lessons of your experience. It can be a time for sharing what you have gained and rejuvenating your spirit, so that you can again when ready, move forward with vision and purpose.

So what time is it, for you? "   (Brian Carroll, 2012)