In addition to my marketing work, I also provide individuals with advice and guidance on a wide range of topics. Of course this is confidential, but not surprisingly this January I’ve been asked to help people who are thinking of making the break from being employed to setting-up their own businesses.
Each individual has their own specific circumstances, which is why there is real value in gaining specific advice. However, if you are thinking of breaking free I’ve prepared the following mini-guide and I hope you find it a helpful starting point on your journey.
Breaking Free Mini-Guide
If you’re in paid employment - that’s good news. Even if you aren’t enjoying your work, if it pays your bills, it also buys you the time to plan your new business venture. So when you clock-off at the end of the day you can start developing the vision for your enterprise.
Take time to really think about what you want to do. You may already have ideas, and this is the perfect time to refine them into the one big thing you want to do.
Once you have your vision for your business, talk it through with the people closest to you, partners, family and friends. Ask for their honest feedback. Note this down and revisit your vision.
At this stage the good news is, you’re not spending any money and you have the luxury of being able to see how viable your idea is. You may well have more technical questions, where possible find experts who can help answer these for you. Especially important if you’re venture will take you in a completely new direction.
Ask yourself lots of questions. For example:
Do you envisage:
Being a sole trader?
Growing a large enterprise?
Trading locally, nationally, internationally?
Start small and grow organically?
Start the business whilst you’re still in employment?
Need investment or a loan?
Live without your monthly wage?
Allow time for the business to grow?
Rely on existing networks and contacts for custom?
Will you finance the new venture?
Will you make the transition from employee to business owner?
Will you market the business?
Demand for your business?
A defined customer base?
An opportunity to bring something new to the market?
By now you’ll be in business planning mode. Importantly if the figures don’t add up, if your research isn’t giving you positive feedback - don’t worry. This gives you the opportunity to revisit your vision.
If at this stage it doesn’t look like your vision is viable, take time to review your vision, or even develop a new one. There’s no magic formula, but time spent getting your plan as watertight as possible is time well spent.
Once you have your fully developed plan, you’ll have a timeline to work to, a vision that’s been fully developed, and you’ll have identified how it will be funded.
This brings you to the point where a walk in the park does wonders, give yourself the opportunity to decide if you really are ready to break free. Only you can make that decision, and you need to be 100% convinced its the right thing to do, at the right time and for the right reasons. Of course if you have a partner this really should be a joint decision as it will impact both of you.
Finally, once you have broken free, that really is when the hard work starts. So do anticipate working longer hours than ever before, living outside of your comfort zone, and at the same time look forward to enjoying the sense of achievement that setting-up and running your own business will give you.
This is a mini-guide with aim of helping you to start thinking about what you need to plan and then start running your own business. If you have any other advice or sources of information please feel free to share in comments.