With the changing face of the economy in recent years and the number of businesses that have gone bankrupt, more and more people are turning to being self-employed, forming their own company or working as a freelancer. And while being self-employed can be challenging, there are plenty of inspiration success stories to show that with hard work, dedication and a good idea, you too can be a successful entrepreneur.
Talk about successful entrepreneurs and people like Sir Richard Branson are always among the first mentioned and this is for good reason – an example of someone who has taken an idea, worked hard on it and gone from strength to strength. Other examples include the founder of the Foxtons estate agents, Jon Hunt, who had just £100 to his name when he founded the company.
But the question isn’t so much what these people did but how they did it? What are their secrets to success that meant they survived where others didn’t? While there’s no guarantee that any ideas or theories will ensure success, there are certain principles that the most success all follow that can help anyone starting a business.
Regardless of the type of business, cash flow is king and hanging your business’s finances can be a challenge. One of the key steps to starting a successful business is to get the right advice to avoid common financial pitfalls. Top of this list will always be tax – not anticipating that you will need to pay it and finding yourself facing a large unexpected bill is a common problem for many new businesses.
Getting an accountant is a good step that helps you start as you mean to go on, keeping good accounts from the start and ensuring that you don’t get caught out by the tax man when the time comes around. Good bookkeeping can also help see how the business is doing and if you are in the position to take on more staff or launch new products.
Sometimes you might need extra help but can’t afford to set someone on full time and this is where outsourcing can be great. Outsourcing can help your business remain flexible while gaining the services or skills that you need at the particular time. Using freelancers for anything from bookkeeping to software development to website design can get you the service you need without the long term commitment of taking on staff.
The other big thing about being your own boss is the self-motivation factor. It can become tempting to relax, take the afternoon off or postpone a job until another day. Make sure you’re managing your time effectively and have some kind of regime or calendar to follow or you run the risk of getting nothing done and therefore making no income. One of the top reasons people return to work is that they don’t have the personality for working alone and there’s nothing wrong with this but if you are organised, motivated and controlled, then you can make it work for you.