Everyone wants to work for themselves to some degree, but the experience can be a daunting and frightening prospect. Yet for those willing to take the plunge, it can also be an exciting and ultimately rewarding challenge. What follows is some practical advice on what to consider should you decide to take the leap which will hopefully make a big difference in your financial career.
Self-fund where possible
What you will hear constantly is: get investment, take out a loan, or find an “angel investor.” However, the best way to get going may be just to use what money you already have to build up your own ideas, business plan, website, and foundations of your personal business. If you have some money put aside, use it. There will come a day when you need some funding. If you have “skin in the game” by investing your own money, potential funders/financiers will take you more seriously. It makes sense when you think about it. Why should they put money in if you haven’t?
Moreover, keep the job you have as long as possible, whether it is permanent or contractual. Build on planning, developing, and growing your business around your job. Evenings and weekends will give you plenty of time to make a great start. Some business gurus will tell you “burn the boats” and go 100% into the new enterprise. However, that is an extremely “risky” strategy. By keeping your job, you have a contingency plan to fall back on and a source of income while simultaneously working on your start-up.
Don’t waste much time on government agencies or support
Yes, you heard it right, don’t go chasing the elusive government grant! After you have completed reems of paperwork and dealt with all the administrative red tape, you may have expended a lot of wasted time, money, and effort. Remember you are dealing with civil servants, who have all the time in the world without any appreciation of your needs and deadlines. Moreover, most of them lack any entrepreneurial experience and are unable to appreciate your business principles in an objective way. Nevertheless, they will still want you to apply, since having as many applications as possible suits their bureaucratic agenda. You should still make initial inquiries, but if the vibe you receive isn’t positive, think carefully about proceeding; many businessmen have found the entire process a waste of time.
Be careful who you take advice from
It seems everyone is an expert, especially when they have nothing at stake. There are many people who will shout from the side lines, but who have never had the disposition or fortitude to enter the field of play themselves. Try to rely on a trusted, small group of people, hopefully with some older, wiser, experienced veterans who have already been successful entrepreneurs. These are the type of individuals you should heed, not people who have never opened a successful start-up themselves.
Take your time and do your research
Above all, if you do not take time to properly prepare, you are headed for financial failure. Always do your research and take time to set up your new enterprise. Be sure to develop a sound foundation, and think through what you want to do, and how you want to do it. These are the basic keys to a successful business start-up.
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