Start A Small Business

As with any career, there are no guarantees that starting a small business will make you happy. Even though becoming your own boss will empower you to take control of your own destiny, it will also present many challenges along the way. So why start a small business and will it bring you the happiness and the lifestyle that you yearn for?

As the current economical downturn continues to cause uncertainty, more and more people are choosing to start a small business. Some are taking this route by choice, while others are being forced due to not earning enough money, personal debt soaring and becoming fed up of waiting for things to improve. Even graduates are starting to turn their back on their chosen careers and opting for the entrepreneurial route instead. However can anyone be successful in business?

The answer is sadly, no. Even if you have the best small business ideas in the world, have a great work ethic and a determination to succeed, these things alone will not guarantee you success.

You will need to be able to market your small business idea to others. Firstly to a bank or lender in order for them to support you by allowing you to open up a business account with them and to lend you funds if your business requires it.

Then you will need to convince your customers that you have what they need. Whatever line of business you choose, there will usually be a lot of competition out there so you will really have to work hard to convince them to buy from you. This can be achieved by building up your brand, (either your product or yourself), in order for them to connect with you and to build up trust for them to buy from you. Having a good reputation is paramount for success in business.

Even when you have branded yourself well, this alone will not a guarantee you success within business. For example, even well known celebrities who have embarked on business ventures have not always been successful, despite having a great brand. For example whilst Jay Z has been extremely successful within his business ventures having co- founded many successful companies including 40/40 club sports bar, Carol’s daughter beauty products, Brooklyn nets NBA, Def Jam records, Roc -a- fella records and clothing company Roca wear, fellow singer Kanye West was not so successful in his attempt at launching his clothing line Pastelle.Despite having a passion for fashion, two days after launching photos of his new fashion line, the business folded. Many believe that his interruption of Taylor swift’s acceptance speech at the MTV music awards contributed to the demise of his fashion line, thus proving how important having a good reputation is in business.

I, myself know only too well how quickly things can change in business. I lost count of how many times other supermarkets opened up close to my retail outlets causing my profits to drop. However fortunately I only lost customers for a short period as they always came back to my store largely due to the excellent customer service that I provided and also because I kept introducing more lines and better promotions to give them more value for their money. I regularly reviewed what my customers wanted and made sure that I provided for their needs.

I also constantly faced stiff competition when starting up my building company. However, again, the good reputation that my company built up, along with establishing the best marketing for that business, ensured the success of that business too.

When starting a small business it is important to be able to face the challenges that it can present. As well as being able to diversify to meet the ever changing needs of your customers, you also need to be aware of how difficult it can be to suddenly be accountable to others as well as yourself.

You will suddenly be accountable to your bank manager, your staff (If you have any), your customers and also your family as they too will be dependent on the success of your business. You will also find yourself suddenly without the luxury of having a guaranteed wage, sickness benefit and pension, all of which can be added pressure especially if you have any dips in trade which can often happen.

The best way to deal with such worries is to try to keep some spare cash aside when starting your own business, as security to pay bills in case of any hiccups along the way. You will also need to regularly analyse what is working well within your business in order to stop what is not working and do more of what is working.

To close, if you have any new business ideas that you feel passionate about, starting your own business can be a great way to create a better work/life balance. It can be very exciting and rewarding but you will need to recognise that you will have to work very hard at the beginning to get your business ideas off the ground. You will also need to have a detailed business plan, work hard at marketing and branding your product or service, build up a good reputation and most of all have a passion and determination to succeed. Take it from one who knows!

My name is Roy Derrick and I have over 20 years experience in running my own business. Over the years I have set up and sold several successful businesses including a chain of retail stores and a construction company.

My wife Julie and I currently run a home based business that specialises in finding and sourcing the best ways to start a small, sustainable business working from home.