Most people dream of being their own boss, but the reality is rarely as glamorous as it first sounds. Before you quit your day job and invest in a new set of business cards, be sure to consider the following:
1. Even if you’re doing what you love, it’s still work.
Forget that old saying about doing what you love. No matter how passionate you are about the niche you work in, you will have days when you simply can’t be bothered to work. If you go into your new venture understanding that running a business is a real job, you’ll find it easier to accept those days.
2. When you own a business, your customers are your bosses.
Without your customers, you wouldn’t have a business to run. Remember that, and treat your customers with the respect that you treat your current boss.
3. Working with friends ruins the friendship.
Employing real life friends is an incredibly risky idea. No matter what promises your friends make, it is difficult to set boundaries with friends, and as soon as personal arguments carry over to your working hours (or vice-versa), your business will start to suffer. Avoid hiring real life friends unless you have no other option.
4. Yes, business plans are essential.
Draw up a detailed business plan, including cashflow forecasts, marketing plans and a list of long-term goals. Even if you aren’t planning on asking a bank for funding, having a good business plan will make managing the growth of your business much easier.
5. It’s easier to lower prices than to raise them.
Set your prices high, and run short term sales if you don’t attract the level of business you were looking for. Don’t launch with low prices – it de-values your product, and gives you less room to move when it comes to pricing.
6. Price is as important as quality.
Consumers are trained to think that an expensive product is a good product. Remember this, and use pricing as a part of your marketing. If you’re aiming for a premium market, set a premium price.
7. You have more competitors than you think.
Your competitors are not only people who make the same kind of product as you. Anyone who is competing for your target audience’s time and money is a competitor. Remember that and target your marketing accordingly.
8. Everyone should have a day job at least once.
If you don’t have a lot of work experience, it’s well worth spending some time working in a traditional office. Not only will this help you to learn the processes and terminology used in a normal work place, it will give you a better understanding of how having a regular job works. When the stress of self employment starts wearing you down, you’ll be able to think back to your days in the cubicle and remind yourself of all of the benefits of self employment.
9. Do the legal groundwork before you start trading.
Before you start trading under your new business name, check the name with the appropriate authorities, make sure you are not infringing on any trademarks or patents, and find out exactly what kind of insurance you need. Get all of that groundwork out of the way before you invest in business cards, logo design or signage. It would be unfortunate to spend a fortune on a brand package for your business, only to find out that the company name has already been taken by someone else.
10. Invest in insurance, even if you’re a one-man band.
If you plan on accepting visits from customers, or employing anyone, then you must have insurance to cover that. Even if you’re a one man band working from your bedroom, it’s a good idea to invest in some insurance so that you have a safety net if your stock or equipment is damaged or stolen.
[author ]Amy E is writer who enjoys covering topics related to business. She especially likes to give advices and tips to small business owners. She writes for a number of companies including Automatic Access who work with a number of small businesses throughout the UK. Learn more about Automatic Access at their website.[/author]