Becoming a business owner | 4 min read
There’s no doubt that going into business for yourself can be as terrifying as it is exciting, but is starting your own business really as scary as it is sounds?
Here’s how to make the leap into entrepreneurship a little less scary.
1. Address financial insecurity head on
If the prospect of saying goodbye to your weekly pay cheque leaves you gasping for air, then business ownership might not be right for you. According to Daniel Harrison, owner of three Magic Hand Carwash franchise outlets in Melbourne, the biggest hurdle any would-be business owner will face is financial.
“Before considering business ownership, remind yourself that you won’t draw much of an income from the business for at least the first 12 months, so make sure you have a contingency plan to cope with that.”
Daniel says this is where a lot of people get scared off – especially those in corporate jobs who have enjoyed a solid and stable income for some time. But there is a way to make this fear less daunting.
“I would encourage people who are interested in becoming their own boss to first review their financial position by drawing up a personal budget and determining how much money they will need to live off for a year. Next, figure out whether you have sufficient savings or an alternate source of income to cover your living expenses. And finally, figure out how much cash flow you are likely to need to start the business. If you don’t have the cash flow available, consider how you will go about raising funds.”
2. Ask yourself: “Am I afraid of hard work?”
Daniel says one of the biggest pluses to running your own business is achieving work-life balance but you have to be prepared to work hard as success doesn’t happen overnight.
“Working long days is part and parcel of being a business owner, especially in the early days when you’re trying to get your business off the ground. You need to be prepared to work longer and harder than you did as an employee. Ultimately the success of the business relies on you – the more you put in, the more you will get out.”
3. Do the research
When it comes to starting your own business, most people tend to fall into one of two camps. You either have a burning business idea that you want to put into practice or you’re driven by the desire to be your own boss. Either way, it’s integral to do your research.
If it’s your own idea, explore what other people are doing in this area. Who are your competitors and what differentiates your business idea from theirs? Exploring the diversity of options available to you could provide the inspiration you need to kick-off your quest to become your own boss.
4. Make sure you write a business plan
Daniel says it is really important to start your business off on the right foot by writing a solid business plan. A business plan doesn’t need to be pages and pages long but it should include the following, based on your research:
- Who is the target market for your proposed product or service?
- What is the customer need you are responding to, and how does your solution to that need compare with competitors in the market?
- What are your revenue sources?
- What are your cost items?
- How long will it take to bring your product or service to the market?
- When will you start to receive sales revenue?
5. Understand the importance of leadership
According to Daniel, leadership skills are a vital ingredient of business ownership success.
“You need to get your team on board and make sure they are aligned with your vision, otherwise you won’t be able to achieve the level of productivity and the positive customer experience that is required to be a success.
Daniel recommends leading by example and performing the same tasks alongside your team members day in, day out, as a great way to create a strong and mutually respectful culture.
6. Know your limitations
Daniel says, when running your own business it pays to know your limits. As an entrepreneur you must wear many hats including sales, marketing, buying, budgeting, planning, cost control, production and finance, but rather than thinking you have to be an expert in all of these areas, consider appointing other people into these roles.
“Responsibilities in my business range from hiring, rostering, ordering and developing our team of people. As I have taken on more sites I have realised that I can’t possibly be across every aspect of the business, so I have gradually handed over certain responsibilities, such as book keeping, accounting, payroll and human resources to external companies. This allows me to stay focused on the overall running of the business and also means that the business doesn’t eat into my spare time.”
If you’ve made your way through these six steps and feel that starting your own business is something that could work for you, maybe it’s time to consider a career change? Ask yourself these five questions before you take that next big step.