Starting your own business

One of the many tough realities of life in 21st Century Britain is the dreadful shortage of work available to those who want it. There are of course plenty who don’t and we could waffle on for ages about that, but it would simply be a political angle on our modern society rather than a practical one.

So too could we look at the lowering of standards and skills in recent years, pointing to the lack of investment in training and education that has been made.

But let’s be more positive. Let’s take a look at the Can-Do Factor, rather than the Can-Not. Suppose you want to start your own business. Perhaps you’ve been made redundant, or forced into early retirement? Maybe you simply have a business idea burning within you. The question then becomes – how to do it?

What do you have to do to set up in business? Who needs to be notified – and how do you go about that? Do you need a separate bank account? Should you have a trading name? What about VAT – do you need to register? If so, how? Should you operate as a company or a sole trader? In fact, just what is the difference? Why should I go for one rather than the other? How do I go about starting to get the business known? Do I need any special kind of insurance? And what about accounts, taxes, keeping records??

If you have ever considered starting a business then some of these items will have already passed through your mind – probably many more questions will have arisen too. It can seem very daunting indeed, and has probably put off countless would-be entrepreneurs along the way.

Why should that be so? Well, because the ONLY real requirement for a new business to succeed is to be borne of a good idea. Unfortunately, throughout history countless people have had great ideas for a new business but just haven’t had the tenacity to fight their way through the bureaucratic nightmare of getting their idea translated into an established business.

One of the great things about 21st Century life is our access to information. The Internet. It’s not about the internet itself of course – clever technology though that is. But it’s all about having access to such a worldwide spread of diverse information.

Specialists in all subject areas are suddenly on tap in your own living room. Information abounds, in every conceivable subject area. The fact that you are reading this document of course proves the point. The Internet has given you access to it. The world is your proverbial oyster now, so there really is nothing to stop you from going into business.

Every single question that you can imagine about how to establish, promote, develop and run your business can be – will have already been – answered by someone out there in cyberspace. The trick is to find someone who’s been there and done it. And it matters not if they are still wearing the tee-shirt! Just go and grab one for yourself.

So. How are we to go about picking up this new business idea of yours and turning it into an established enterprise? Well, the first thing you need is to believe in yourself. Without that, you’re doomed to failure. Don’t get me wrong here though, there is no super-human ego needed. Just a total confidence that your idea is sound, and that you are determined to take it to the market and make some money with it.

As an aside here, if you are not totally committed to what you want to do, it will almost certainly not work. Think carefully about that aspect, before you read on. If you do not believe in yourself, or in the product or service that you are offering, then you cannot expect anyone else to believe in you either.

Have you ever noticed that a dog knows instantly when it meets someone whether they will be friendly towards it, or afraid of it? The dog reads the signs, gets the vibes perhaps. But it somehow it detects the person’s level of confidence and responds to that. Well, so too does the great public at large – especially when it comes to doing business with someone. The most important ingredient in a successful business encounter is confidence.

If you want to buy a secondhand car, you need to be confident in the salesman, or the dealership who you are buying from. Now put yourself in the place of the salesman or the dealer, and you already know the prime ingredient that you will require for success. Which brings us neatly back to the idea of being confident in yourself, and confident about what you are selling.

Oh, and by the way. If you happen to have a problem with the notion of selling something, then get over it, and very quickly. Because no matter what business you are in, nothing happens until somebody sells something!

We will of course move on later to examine the administrative aspects of your proposed new business. The area where a good accountant, at very affordable prices, can be a real asset to your business. Hopefully you will then agree that this blog sits on the “correct” website! But for the moment, there is much ground to be covered before you ever get anywhere near to addressing some of those questions that we listed above. First and foremost you need to develop your business idea. You need to determine where the market for your product or service is (and in a later article, I will insist that there is no distinction between ‘product’ and ‘service’ – they are one and the same entity) and figure out how best to bring the product and the market together.

You see, starting out in business is quite simple really, if you just take it one step at a time. Before anything else needs to be done, you just have to do the preparation, very, very thoroughly.
If you like what you’ve seen so far – why not come back for some more? Another chapter will be revealed soon. Better still, write in to the blog and tell us about your experiences.