Entrepreneurship and small business have been making news recently; with banks being tackled to lend more to small businesses, and television shows such as Dragons’ Den dividing the nation over the way small businesses are portrayed and helped. My views on such television programmes are one for another day, but for now all this has highlighted a real sense of enterprising throughout the UK.
In a time when unemployment is high, and job security seems like a long lost friend, it is easy to see why over half a million people are starting their own businesses every year. But what is the best way to start a business? Quit the day job and take the plunge, or build up steadily until you have the security you need to enter fully in to the world of the self-employed?
This is a question that is very much based on individual circumstance; I, for example, started my first business whilst at university and have been doing so ever since! But, at the same time there are many successful entrepreneurs out there who have worked in a job all their lives and at some point turned around and said “enough!” and have started out on their own well in to their working life. If this describes you, I would love to hear from you.
There is no ‘right’ way to start out in business. You can buy all the books, and read all the blogs, but starting your own business is something that has to be driven by you; your drive, enthusiasm and vision for you business. Of course, there are external pressures on us all, and mortgages to pay and families to support have to play a major role in how we develop our businesses.
That is why I will always say there is no iron-clad correct way for a business start-up to progress. A business has to grow in accordance not only with demand, but also in line with how the business owner wants it to develop. For some, diving in feet first and spending every waking hour on their business, building and expanding and constantly reaching for the next goal, is the only way to do business. I guess these people would fall in to the 9-5 camp, in that their business is their day job, but I know from experience 9-5 is a mere fraction of a small business owners’ day!
Other small business owners, for various reasons, take a gentler approach and test the water, building up their customer base alongside their current job or while looking after children and running the family home. These people are the 5-9ers. Although, yet again, that time frame does a disservice to these people as a lot of business owners I know are more 5-12ers! For some, this is a way to build their business to a point where they can launch and go it alone; but for others this is how they want their business to be. Something that can fit in with their lives, not run it, and provide enough of an income to make them comfortable, not rich.
People start their own business for many reasons, and it is not always to work every hour under the sun (and through the night!) to build a hugely successful business. There are many different businesses, and many different types of entrepreneur. Each deserves as much respect, help and admiration as the other, whether they work 9-5, 5-9 or anywhere in between on their business.
Owning your own business is about creating a life that is right for you and those around you. 9-5 or 5-9? It makes no difference at all – success is in the eye of the achiever.