Taking the leap and starting your own business is a big, bold and scary step. No matter how confident we are in our ideas, the idea of leaving a career we know and embarking on a new journey where we have full accountability for everything that happens can make us put off making the jump. Across the world, there are millions of people with incredible ideas who aren’t making a move into starting their own company. Think about how many exciting new products or services we are missing because someone didn’t believe in themselves enough.
It is hard to know when to make the transition. Our daily lives often dictate what we can do. With bills to pay, children to look after and homes to maintain the concept of giving up a well-paid job to gamble on yourself is terrifying. So many people put it to the back of their minds or put it off for another year. In some cases, this might be a sensible choice. It is a risk to start your own business. It requires 100 percent effort and dedication, and even then, if your product or service isn’t right, you could fail. However, there isn’t ever a good time to do anything, and if we keep putting off our dreams, we could live an empty life and never feel we reached our potential.
Before you make any big decisions in your life, you should always have a plan. This is something proactive that you can do in your spare time, so you don’t have to leave your job or take any risks. You need to sit down and create two plans. One is your business plan which will include a financial forecast. The other should be a personal plan.
Your personal plan should be a retrospective look at your life which then leads to a future projection. You should consider where you are in your career. What transferable experience you have. How much your income is. You need to look at your outgoings and work out if you have enough income to support you stepping out of your career and into a new venture that is going to eat away at your savings. You need savings. It’s also important to consider your financial history and whether you are likely to obtain a loan from the bank to help set up your new venture. All of this will help you decide if you afford to start a business. If you can’t at this moment in time, use your plan to work out how long it would take you to get yourself to a financial and personal position where you can. Then start working away at making it happen.
Your business plan is essential for understanding if the idea you have is truly viable. It will help you to build a strategy for starting the company and will give you valuable insight into the steps you need to take. It will highlight any resources you will need to reach your business goals, and you will be able to build a timeline to see when your critical dates are. Through the process, you should think about several things. Go into real detail so you can prepare yourself in the best way. Your plan will help you highlight any issues, so spend your time researching every element of the company. Look into sustainability and how you can minimise your carbon footprint. Research any packaging and familiarise yourself with all the options, you need to know your roll stock from your pinch bottom! The deeper you go in the business plan, the more prepared you will be when you start the business. Or you might begin to realise that the concept and reality are too far away from one another.
Your financial forecast is part of your business plan. It could be worth investing in an independent financial advisor for this. You will use this to discover how much each stage of the set up is going to cost you, highlight all your potential outgoings and create a forecast for your profit and loss. It will also show you if you need some investment or loans, which might make you look into the idea of having some shareholders. Every business needs a financial plan before any commitment is made. You should compare this to your personal plan and decide if you can afford to make your dream a reality.
Once you have done all of this, you will know if you have an attractive proposition or not. This is where you will need to make some big decisions because if your business looks great on paper, then your next step will be changing your life.
This is the hard bit. Up until now, you have had an exciting idea, you’ve been busy planning, but you haven’t had to make any real sacrifices for the business. Today, you need to decide if you are going to move forward and that, in reality, takes a hell of a lot of guts. It’s going to involve leaving your job. It will mean much less time with your family and even less for yourself. Suddenly you are going to lose that pay package that appeared in your bank account every month, and you might find yourself financially dependent on your partner or your family for a while. If you have done your planning right and the numbers stack up, then go for it. Be bold.
Don’t be too bold, though! Remember that other people will be affected by your decision. Firstly, your boss. It’s essential to handle this switch with integrity as once you are a business owner, you will realise how important it is to have friends. Talk to your employer as soon as you make the decision and give him plenty of notice before you leave your current job. Then, speak to your family and make sure they are entirely on board with your decision. They are going to be making a lot of sacrifices too.
Prepare to work hard, but know that it is worth it if you want to feel you have reached your full potential.