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Things to keep in mind when starting a business

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Setting up a business alone is a big move, but it’s something that more and more people are growing in confidence to do every day.   However it’s not for everyone and there are lots of factors to consider before starting a business.

Both my husband and I are now self-employed.  I have been running my own businesses since 2012 and full-time on them for over two years now.  My husband has just started his self-employed venture and has been full-time for one month.  There is definitely a lot of things to keep in mind when starting a business.

If setting up your own business is something you’ve considered, make sure you think about the below before you go for it.

Do I have a strong support network?

A strong support network is essential for any business owner, especially one who is going to go it alone. Don’t lose touch with people who are important to you.

Although I have experience in being self-employed and setting up my online businesses, I definitely still get anxious and have worries.  Luckily my husband has been very supportive of me and now it’s time for me to return this support for his self-employed journey.   Being in the same boat means we can both understand each other’s struggles and also celebrate the wins together too.

If your family and friends can’t relate to your experience or don’t understand your type of business then it’s a good idea to find a support network of people who do.  This is very easy to do online nowadays with numerous Facebook groups set up for people in the same business niche to network with each other and lend support.

Am I going to wish I had a business partner?

Sometimes, a business partner is better. However, this can depend on what you are doing.   The internet is definitely divided on whether it’s a good or bad idea to have a business partner, so it really depends on you and the business idea.

If you are going into business with a partner then you need to choose wisely.  You need to have skills that complement each other and skill sets that are needed for the duration of the company. If you only need some skill-sets you don’t have yourself, for a short period of time then you simply need to hire a freelancer or temporary member of staff instead.

Taking on a business partner means you’ll need to share the same vision and you’ll need to share the company.  It won’t just be your company.  You’ll need the same work ethic and direction to prevent disagreements and ultimately business failure.

How will I get funding?

Securing funding is usually crucial. Many business owners create a business plan and approach investors. However, there are all kinds of ways you can secure funding in this day and age. 

Some businesses don’t require much in the way of start-up costs.  My businesses are websites and so it was merely the setup of the websites that I had to pay for and then it was a case of putting in a lot of time and effort to build these websites from scratch.

My husband has two businesses.   One is making handmade custom furniture and the other is being a local handyman.  Both businesses required an investment to set up a workshop, buy tools, equipment and material.  We were able to fund the start-up costs from our savings.

Some businesses need a lot more capital to get started and this is when you need a sound business plan in order to approach investors, banks and even crowdsourcing platforms if you have a product to sell.

What risks am I taking?

Understanding any and all risks is crucial before you start. Do you have competition? What challenges will you need to overcome? 

There are lots of different risks to consider when starting a business.  It’s the great unknown too - will you be successful or will your business fall flat on its face?

Of course, even failures are a success in a way as you can learn from them and prevent making the same mistake again to build a bigger and better business.

You’ll also be abandoning the security of a steady pay check for the great unknown, so it’s important to be prepared and to have cash flow in place.

When will I hire?

Eventually, you’re probably going to need to hire. You could look into virtual PAs, or physical members of a team. Make sure you try to work this out before the time comes. Have a good idea of when you’ll look to take people on board so you don’t hesitate. 

There are lots of things you’ll need to know if you’re taking on an employee for the first time.  Having an actual member of staff means they’ll have rights and so you need to be aware of the legalities and have proper contract in place.

If you can use freelancers or virtual PAs then they are self-employed themselves and may charge slightly more than you’d pay an employed member of staff per hour, but you have much greater flexibility.

How will I make my life easier?

Making your life easier as a sole business owner is crucial. There are so many digital tools created for small businesses and the self-employed to make their lives easier and business processes automated which can save a business money and time.  From CRM sytems to digital accounting software and mobile payment card readers to social media content autopublishers, there is a wealth of technology to make running a business easier than ever.