Posted: Tue 23rd Feb 2021
If you've reassessed your life and found that your job no longer fulfils you, you might be thinking about starting your own business.
Running a business is a great way to have more money, more time, and more freedom than when you have a job. But it can also be the complete opposite, so it's important you know whether it's right for you or not.
In this blog post I'll address some of the questions you might have around this. We'll look at what sort of personality you need to have in order to be successful in business, what type of business you could run, when is the right time to start, some practical steps to get started and the mistakes to avoid.
Just a little bit about me: I used to be an international sales manager in engineering for many years when redundancy and a divorce led me to reassess my life and I decided I wanted to do something else. When I came across business coaching, I instantly knew it was the right thing for me as it combined my passion for business with my desire to help people.
I started Inge Dowden Coaching in 2008 and since then I've helped hundreds of people change their careers, start businesses and helped them grow those businesses. I'm delighted to share my experience with you to help you make the right decision for you.
What kind of personality do you need to start a business?
So let's look at the personality aspect first. Anyone can start a business, especially in this day and age, but to be successful it's good to look at the characteristics that super successful business owners have.
It's always good to learn from people who've 'been there and done that' and are good at what you'd like to do.
Believe in yourself (and your business idea)
Having self-belief and confidence is very important. After all, if you don't believe in yourself or your business idea, why would you expect others to?
So, if you have issues with confidence, you might like to work on that first, before starting a business. And self-belief doesn't mean being arrogant and thinking you know everything better; it just means that you believe you have just as much right as anyone else to have a good idea and bring it to fruition.
Know your strengths and weaknesses
Having a clear idea of what you're great at (and not being shy about it) and crucially what you're not good at (and will therefore need to delegate, outsource, or get help with) is essential in business.
Nobody is good at everything, and believing that you must be will only hinder you. Most people are too modest, so you can use a DISC personality profile to find out, or ask your friends, family and colleagues.
Be willing to take risks
To be successful in business, you have to be willing to take a risk and be open to new ideas. If your mantra is "But that's how we've always done it" and you're not prepared to try new things, you're going to find it awfully hard to create a sustainable business.
If financial security is high on your list of priorities and you're not good with uncertainty, you might also be less suited to running a business. But if you're open and curious about new things, you've got the right attitude.
Don't be afraid to fail
Being willing to take risks also means being OK with failing. Even successful people have failed. Most of the time they have failed more often than unsuccessful people. The difference is that they haven't let those failures stop them; they've learned from them and moved on.
Be eager to keep on learning
The successful business owner is always learning. Whether that's through reading, getting training or learning from mentors, they know that they don't know it all and they get out of their comfort zone and learn new things.
Know when to get help
And finally, you need to know when to ask for help. This comes back to strengths and weaknesses: if you know you're not good at something, get experts to help you. This is most definitely not a sign of weakness, but a sign of excellent leadership.
When is a good time to start?
To be honest, anytime is the right time to start. Lots of successful business have been started during a recession or in difficult times, and now is actually a very good time with many new possibilities opening up, especially online.
But there are two important things you need:
Starting a business is hard, and it may take a while to make a profit, so you need to be able to have some money behind you to survive six to 12 months without an income.
Or, you need to get enough funding to start properly. It's very difficult to start a business with no money at all, so having some sort of buffer is the very least you want to have.
Good market research
Before you throw yourself headlong into your new venture, you have to make sure your idea has legs. If there's lots of competition, that means there is a market for it. But if you're doing something completely new and original, make sure you know people want to buy that.
A great way to start is do it as a 'try before you buy'. Start small when you still have your job and see if you can make it work.
What type of business could you start?
There are lots of different types of business you could run. It all depends on what you want from it and what suits your personality most, but here are some ideas:
Physical products in a physical shop
Physical products online
Multi-level marketing (MLM)
Franchises and MLM businesses are great if you're not sure you're cut out to run a business all by yourself, as you'll normally get support from the main business.
And if you go for an established brand, you won't need to do all the hard groundwork yourself. Make sure you research them properly though, to make sure you're not just spending a lot of money on empty promises.
Practical steps to get started
Once you've decided starting a business is for you, here are a few practical steps to get up and running:
Decide on a name (use your own if you're offering a personal service)
Design a brand (in Canva or using Fiverr or Upwork, for example)
Get a business bank account
Get a web presence (a website, social media or online marketplaces)
Start networking (online and in person)
Focus on getting a sale as soon as possible
Get the right support (business coach, mentor, mastermind)
And that leads me nicely into the most common mistakes you should try to avoid:
Spending too long on 'getting ready'
Not knowing your numbers
Not being prepared for growth
Giving up too soon
That's it for now. I realise that this is a very quick overview of a big topic and you might have even more questions now than you had before, so feel free to arrange a free discovery call with me to discuss your situation and your ideas.
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