In today's technology orientated world it has never been simpler to start your own business. There are now around 8 million online businesses in the UK alone so if you've got a great idea now is the time to put it into action.
Starting a new online business is much the same as starting a conventional business except the start-up cost is likely to be much lower. Depending on the type of business, you don't have to rent an office or other premises; you can simply start from home. Both Google and Apple began working from garages attached to residential houses and they are the perfect example of how sheer determination and getting it right can make you a fortune.
If you've been employed by an organisation or a company you'll know that there are usually several different departments that manage various aspects of the business such as administration, sales, marketing and finance. When you start your own business, initially you will probably not employ staff so you will be responsible for running every aspect necessary to make the business a success. Research suggests that the most successful self-employed people are those who are self-aware with an ability to manage themselves in diverse situations.
So assuming you are skilled, talented and passionate enough to make your vision a reality, what other characteristics and qualities will you need to make your business a success?
Initially you'll need a lot of "self" - you will have to be self-motivating, self-assured, self-inspiring, self-starting and self-directed. You must be self-starting, self-inspired, self-directed. When times are tough and you are lacking in inspiration, you'll need to motivate yourself to carry on regardless.
Willing to embrace new challenges - your entire lifestyle will change when you become your own boss. Your income and measure of employment will fluctuate and you will encounter continuous challenges in finding the next customer, getting over the next hurdle and modifying your talents to match the direction your business takes.
Risk staying power - being self-employed is often perceived as being very risky but actually the risk involved is not so different to being employed. In recent years, recession it Britain has seen major household name companies fold and with it redundancy and therefore unemployment. If you were a victim of this how secure did you feel before your firm closed its doors? If you are employed within a company that is failing you just get on with your job and hope for the best but when you have your own business, you will always be unsure as to where you'll find your next customer and how long it's going to take to secure that contract or sale.
The ability to multi task - you are going to have to be a "Jack of all Trades" and a master of all of them until such time as you can afford to employ staff to help you. And you need to enjoy working on multiple projects as well as performing all the duties necessary to ensure your business is running smoothly.
Marketing and sales - you will note that I have put marketing before sales whereas quite often you'll see "Sales and marketing". Without marketing, there will be no sales and of the many things you will have to learn in running your own business these two skills are incredibly important. If you don't know much about marketing and don't feel confident in your sales ability, you will need help. Whether that takes the form of training or employing someone to do this work for you will depend on your budget but these two disciplines are fundamental to the success or failure of any business.
And don't imagine that having a website is enough, because with millions of websites on the internet you need to get your website seen. For example, there are usually 10 positions on the first page of Google; let's assume there are 5,000 plumbers in London and surrounding areas. It is not possible that they can all be on the first page of Google when someone keys in a search of "Plumbers in London" simply because there are not enough positions for them to be. Internet marketing is a multi-billion pound industry for this very reason. There is no point in having an all singing, dancing attractive website if no one can find it. Internet marketing is a skill the basics of which you can learn quite easily. If you know nothing about it, look for a training provider because it's an essential part of your new business.
Sense of humour - you'll find, if you are to maintain your sanity that a sense of humour really helps. If you make a mistake and it hasn't financially affected the business try to see the humour in it. Laughter is a great way of releasing tension and if you are going to be working alone for long periods of time it's important to remain cheerful.
Finally, you need to consider your financial position. Is your business likely to make money immediately or is it something that will develop gradually before it makes enough to cover all your financial commitments? If you are worried about finances you could keep your day job and launch your new business in your free time. It means long hours and a lot of commitment but this will prepare you for when you actually leave your job and work exclusively in your own business. There isn't an entrepreneur who won't tell you that it was tough in the early days.
Running your own business is time consuming but a path that brings exciting challenges and an adventure that requires lots of patience, networking, support and resources.
If you've got a great business idea and need a chat about it, I'm always here.