Why you should start your own business now
May 2014 — You have probably given more than a passing thought to the idea of starting your own business. You may have a business idea that you have been considering for some time, you might find yourself laid off from work, feel that your job opportunities are limited, you may have been passed over for promotion, are burnt out or just want to be your own boss?
It is now ten years since I took my first faltering steps into the world of self employment, motivated by family and especially my daughter who, before she went off to university, urged me to finally pursue my dream.
At the time I had been Chief Executive of a not-for-profit company for thirteen years. This was the longest I had ever been in a job. Three years had been the record up until then. So although I loved what I did, it was definitely time for something new.
I could simply have looked for another CEO role, but the thought of it just didn’t inspire me. I needed a new challenge, a new direction.
Whatever your motivations, as the economy begins to come slowly back to life again there’s never been a better time to start a business. Here are my thoughts about why starting your own business is a good option for you:
Few Barriers to Entry
Would-be entrepreneurs have numerous advantages they didn’t have just a few years ago. One important reason is simply because they’re needed to drive the economy forward. Governments and private-sector organizations are providing more help and money to nurture small-business ownership.
Start-up costs can be very low. Depending on the type of business you are starting – just a few dollars can get you started immediately.
More people can get into business who never could have 15 years ago thanks to technological advances such as smart phones, the web and social media, which have really levelled the playing field.
For example you can create a business website free or inexpensively. There are numerous options including website.com and ucoz.com. You can also print business cards or other promotional materials at low cost. Just think: The vast majority of today’s big businesses started small with no outside capital, and they grew. That could be you, too.
I started my business from the spare bedroom in my home. Ten years later I am still able to work from home (although my busy schedule means that I am rarely there).
All are welcome
Entrepreneurs come in all shapes, sizes, colours. They don’t have to fit anyone else’s ideal model. Think about Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, whose dyslexia provoked punishment from teachers who thought he was lazy, and which still makes math and some other subjects difficult for him.
While many people have found age to be a significant career barrier, entrepreneurship doesn’t discriminate.
Young people can also be successful entrepreneurs. Catherine Cook wanted a way to meet friends in her big, new high school, so when she was 15, she and her brothers started the social media site myYearbook.com (renamed MeetMe.com after being sold for $100 million). Nick D’Aloisio recently sold his app to Yahoo and a headline in The New York Times summed it up: “He has Millions and a New Job at Yahoo. Soon, He’ll be 18.”
According to Gerber, author of Never Get a “Real” Job (Wiley, 2010), “There is more of a need than ever before for young people to start a business,” as youth unemployment remains high.
There are also many more opportunities for women to start businesses than ever before. In the UK women account for over half the increase in self-employment since the recession started in 2008. Between 2008 and 2011 women accounted for an unprecedented 80% of the new self-employed.
I was 40 years old when I decided to start my own business. It had always been ambition of mine, but for one reason or another the time wasn’t right.
When I finally took the plunge, I gave up the security of job and a guaranteed income to enter a world of uncertainty and insecurity, but it is the best decision I have ever made. And even when times are tough and we struggled through a recession, I never had one moment of regret.
Forget the big idea
Of course not all businesses or business ideas are going to spawn multimillion dollar companies, in fact most remain small.
Being an entrepreneur is all about solving a problem and creating something of value – something that people will be happy to pay for.
The chances are you won’t get rich overnight. All any budding entrepreneur needs is to come up with a novel twist or approach on an existing service, idea or product, perhaps by offering different pricing or executing the business a little differently.
The truth is that 99 percent of businesses are old ideas that people make just a little better.
When I started my consultancy business I focused on offering business consultancy solutions that are adaptable and relevant for the changing context that businesses operate in (progressive), are tried and tested (proven) and are simple for the customer to apply in the long term (practical). This is why the business is called p three. So while my offering is not new or original, I seek to differentiate myself from the competition and this has proved to be a very successful strategy.
Just do it
When it came time to start my business I admit it was scary. It’s like jumping off a high diving board, but I did it and it was the best decision I have ever made.
While you may not get rich as your own boss—you could, the greatest benefit to owning your own business is financial independence, because you create your wealth through your own industriousness.
If you love what you do, if you have freedom and flexibility, if you can work from home, if you can spend more with your family, if you can earn more than you would have being employed by someone else – you are successful.
So what’s stopping you? Now is a great time to start your own business.
For more information contact:
Barbara Dennis OBE, DL, CMgr, FCMI
P three business development