More and more people are deciding to take the plunge and set up their own business – and it’s a trend especially common among young people, with the number of under-35s starting firms rising more than 70 per cent since 2006.
Being your own boss is something many of us find attractive but it’s not without risks and pitfalls. Here’s some of the toughest hurdles start-up firms face…
Let’s start at the top. You’ll need money and, unless you’ve got a magical bottomless pit, you’ll need to manage your resources carefully. Hidden costs lurk around every corner. Entrepreneurs must map out how much cash they’ll need to get started and then for the continued cost of running their business. It can be tricky to get this figure right but it’s always best to build in a little extra for that one bill you won’t have thought of. Then there’s the accounts. Don’t see the books as a big bad thing that you want to put off. It’s necessary and will help you avoid costly fines and penalties that can put your business at risk.
Who is our product or service for? There’s a big risk that, without the proper level of research, you might not have quite pitched your business to the right customers. It may be a cliché but the old adage of ‘fail to prepare, prepare to fail’ is true. Make a plan and get as much data and evidence as you can to avoid this pitfall.
Yes, your business idea may be great and you may be brimming with ideas and energy but you can’t necessarily go it alone. Surrounding yourself with the right team is important and can also be tough. You’ll have to consider if the right people are out there ready to help your business fly. Think about the talents and industries on your doorstep.
Who may be looking for new opportunities in Nottingham, what sort of expertise is on the doorstep in Peterborough, are there specialists in Sheffield? Geography may be more important than you think when it comes to being able to tap into the right skills you require.
You’ll need to show confidence in your product and service and there will be times when you get doubts. A study from Queen’s University in Belfast found that, for women, a lack of self-confidence can undermine the hopes of success for any business.
Start-up businesses run the risk of falling under the radar of the very customer they wish to catch the eye of. Make sure you know how and where to showcase the skills you have. You’ll need a professional looking website with key information on the business. First impressions count for a lot, especially when you’re just starting out.
Don’t be tempted to go too far too quickly. If you over-extend yourself you could put yourself at big risk of folding. Slow and steady growth may not sound particularly exciting but it’s vital to establish a solid base for yourself when starting a new business.