As a relatively young business, surrounded by other start-ups and budding entrepreneurs, we’re constantly reminded of the qualities it takes to set up and run your own business, and yesterday we had a meeting with an outstanding consultant who, after years of working for others, has decided to go it alone. With him in mind, and also with the start of the latest series of BBC One’s The Apprentice, it’s a timely reminder of the skills you might need to succeed in your own venture.
Here are some of our thoughts…
Getting a business off the ground requires more than an idea. One of the hardest things to do is to take the plunge, but even before you are physically ready to launch a new business there is so much that needs to be done: the research, the planning, the scoping of the business model, the paperwork, the design and branding work, etc. It may be months or years after you first came up with an idea to start your own business before you can actually see your plans through to fruition, and you’ll need determination to carry you through this period.
Even after you start (take it from us…) you’ll have really tough times when you question why you’re doing what you’re doing, and wonder why you’re doing what you’re doing. You might think about throwing the whole thing in at this stage, but determination to succeed is the quality that will ultimately pull you through…
2. Self-Belief and Self-Reliance
You’ll need to believe in yourself more than ever, in order to succeed at business. Your closest friends and family are usually the ones who will voice the most concerns, mainly because they don’t want to see you fail. Self-belief in both your ideas and your ability to turn a concept into a business are essential, and, along with determination, will see you through some of the toughest times. Self-reliance is also crucial since no matter how much support your friends and family give you in the early days, you’ll never feel lonelier than when you first set out on that path towards self-employment…
Not everybody can run a business. If you find it difficult to work from home on your own, or you’re an expert at putting things off then the chances are, you’ll have to learn to become disciplined before setting up your own business. Think carefully about whether or not you really want the change in lifestyle that goes with running your own business. It usually means less money and less time to devote to non-work activities, at least in the early years, so you’ll really need to be disciplined and focussed on what needs doing, and by when.
You’ll also find that there is a great temptation to focus on the elements of the business which you enjoy, but these can often distract you from the tasks which really need doing.
4. Multi-tasking skills
You thought you could multi-task? Well, setting up and running your own business will really put you to the test! Having a ‘to do’ list as long as your arm starts from day one of running your own business, and until you have people to whom you can delegate things, you’ll have to do absolutely everything yourself. Try not to put off important tasks which you don’t enjoy, since these really can make the difference between business success and failure.
5. Can you sell?
A great business idea, determination, discipline, self-reliance and the ability to multi-task count for nothing if you can’t convince others to support you! Communication and relationship-building skills, together with marketing knowledge and a basic sales strategy are fundamentals for a small business. If you haven’t got the basics covered, then you might need to consider how you can get those skills into your business, since without customers, most organisations are unlikely to succeed.
That said, setting up a business or a social enterprise can be one of the most rewarding ways to spend your time and earn a living! Knowing that you’ve created an entity from scratch, have control over your relationships and how the work is done and hopefully making a small difference to your community is immensely motivating.
These are just some of the qualities it takes to run your own business, but we’re interested to hear your thoughts? Email us, or leave a comment, or better still, why not come and say hi at our next friendly ‘I Am Networking’ or ‘I Am Learning’ event? Visit https://theiamgroup.eventbrite.co.uk/ for more details…