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So, why did you decide to start up your business?

A new survey asked almost 500 people (most of whom are currently running their own small businesses) why they decided to make the move from traditional work into self-employment, and what they’d do differently if they had the chance to start up all over again.

The poll results from Conference Genie make interesting reading, and back the widely-held belief that working for yourself is simply more rewarding than working for someone else, despite the hurdles and difficulties most of us encounter along the way.

According to the survey, here are the main reasons why respondents decided to go it alone:

Top 5 reasons why you started your own business

  1. Flexibility – easily the most popular reason cited by this, and many other surveys (56.6%)
  2. Niche – spotted a niche in the market for their product or service (36.2%)
  3. Lifelong ambition – many entrepreneurs have always wanted to run their own businesses (34.2%)
  4. Quality time – over one-fifth said that running their own businesses enabled them to spend more time with their children (21.4%)
  5. No future – future prospects with a traditional employer were poor (18.4%)

Things you would do differently if you started up your business again

Contributors to the survey were also asked to provide further tips to new start-ups – particularly the things they’d do differently if given the chance. We’ve included a few of the most interesting responses here:

  • “Network more.”
  • “Sought better advice re: pros and cons of setting up a limited company.”
  • “Source good freelance support or interns, so that I could take on bigger projects.”
  • “I would have started out on my own instead of with partners, and gone with my gut instincts rather than listening to negative comments.”
  • “Branded much sooner.”
  • “Hit social media harder and right from the start.”
  • “Market, market, market.”
  • “Research the nature of the industry I was about to work in more thoroughly, and find a niche market at the very start.”
  • “Have a well thought out business plan based on market research, right from the beginning.”

Top 5 issues new start-ups are likely to encounter

When the same group were asked what the main issues new start-ups are likely to face over the coming months, the survey participants said:

  1. Promotion – how to ensure your business idea stands out in the market (38.8%)
  2. Funding – securing initial finance for the new idea (30.1%)
  3. Finance Processes – successfully managing issues such as cashflow management / dealing with VAT, etc. (15.6%)
  4. Competitors – learning how to deal (and take on) the competition (7.7%)
  5. Recruitment – finding the right people, and successfully hiring them to work for your business (3.1%).

Further Information

Try Company Bug’s tips for starting up a business in 2014 for more inspiration.

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