If you’re thinking of setting up a new business, but don’t know where to start, you should first consider whether or not you have the right characteristics to become an entrepreneur, before generating potential business ideas.
The UK small business industry is booming. Tired of working in the corporate world, slaving away to make money for other people and knowing that job security is a fallacy, many are leaving to pursue their dreams.
Freedom, flexibility and being your own boss are irresistible temptations for many budding entrepreneurs however overnight success is rare. You need dedication, determination and a lot of hard work.
Do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?
There are certain characteristics common to most entrepreneurs that have enabled them to become successful. If you are unsure whether you have what it takes, consider the following questions:
Are you generally optimistic and indefatigable?
There will be times when you just want to give up. Having unwavering self-belief and belief in your product or service will give you the motivation to carry on.
Are you a good communicator?
No man is an island, especially when it comes to running your own business. It is vital that you are good at communication as the only way your business will thrive is by being able to connect effectively with your customers, suppliers and employees.
Do you love challenges?
Things don’t always go to plan and you need to be able to analyse what went wrong and find new ways to resolve them. You need to see these times as learning opportunities and not as failures. It should spur you on to try new approaches and grow as an entrepreneur.
Above all else you need to have drive and passion. With no one around to tell you what to do it is easy to get distracted by other activities and lose sight of your goals. You need to remain focussed on your business objective and work hard to achieve it. Being truly passionate about your business idea will push you forward and compel you to succeed.
Generating business ideas
It is estimated that half of all small businesses fold within the first three years.
To succeed you need to ensure that your business offers something customers want and it should be unique to give you an advantage over your competitors.
This doesn’t necessarily mean coming up with a brand new product or service, it could mean targeting a niche market or providing an exceptional customer service. If your core driver is to make lots of money then be prepared for disappointment. Most businesses only start seeing profit months or even years after the initial launch.
One of the best ways to determine the right business for you is to assess your current capabilities and your desired future life vision. Start by writing a detailed description of the life you want. Are you working for yourself, with people, from home or are you out and about all the time? Give it as much detail as possible from the number of hours you want to work through to the physical environment you want to work in. Think about whether you want to have a business partner, what sort of customers and people you want to work with, and the types of activities you would like to do on a daily basis.
Then create a SWOT analysis to enable you to examine your skills and determine your strengths and weaknesses. List the skills you enjoy using that you want to apply to your business. Note what you like about your current and previous jobs. Also ensure you capture your interests and hobbies on the SWOT analysis and include your qualifications. Once completed, explore business opportunities or concepts that could fulfil some or all of your skills and interests.
Brainstorm ideas without going into too much detail until you come up with a list of opportunities.
Compare the list of opportunities with your future life vision and decide which ones are most likely going to give you the life you desire. Then research the ideas that appeal to you the most. Use the Internet to see if there are any businesses that are similar to the ideas you listed. Speak to owners of similar businesses, join business forums and read articles. This will help you eliminate ideas that aren’t the best for you.
When you are down to one or two viable ideas you need to assess them in detail.
Go through Well-formed Outcomes questionnaires to thoroughly examine your choices and identify the right idea for you. It should be the one that maps closest to your future vision, the one that excites you the most and the one you truly believe you can achieve. Trust your intuition and commit to the idea.
It is imperative that you are 100 per cent confident in your business idea before you dive in and establish your business. It can take several months and serious financial investment to take an idea from concept to reality therefore ensure you thoroughly research the concept, become an expert in the subject and set realistic achievable long-term and short-term goals. It is better to discover the potential flaws in the idea during the exploration stage than after you have invested money in the business.
Jacky Baz is a professional coach specialising in the development of leadership skills, career growth and transitioning, and small business start-ups. For more information here.