It takes a lot to start a business, irrespective of what type of business it might be. It doesn’t matter what you’re planning to do, a start-up takes courage, determination, innovation and tons and tons of hard work. And in some cases, of course, it requires a significant financial investment. If you think it will be easy, think again; the only way it’s going to be a piece of cake is if you’re making pieces of cake. Settle in from the very start for a road that’s bumpier than the one that the Mars Rover is currently negotiating.
OK, so you’ve ascertained that it won’t be easy, and that you’re ready for the grafting, but is now the right time to take the plunge? Well, yes and no. No, because you only have to watch the News at Ten tonight to see why; high interest rates, the threat of recession, government instability, consumer uncertainty, supply chain issues and spending cuts. You don’t need to be an economist with the International Monetary Fund to know these are all bad things.
But yes as well, because there’s never really an ideal time to start a business, anyway. The harsh truth is that if you wait until all the stars are aligned perfectly, you will have reached retirement age without ever getting your enterprise up and running. The days when we have a buoyant economy, a wealthy consumer base that’s willing to spend and an infrastructure that genuinely promotes success are yet to arrive. We’ve all been waiting on the platform for many years, but the train has remained a replacement bus service for as long as any of us can remember.
Homework, homework and more homework
If you have a germ of a business idea that you think will succeed, there’s nothing to stop you investigating further. Planning ahead and carrying out the right kind of homework is important when the economy is booming, so obviously at the moment it’s more crucial than ever. The best option for any budding entrepreneur is to carry out some in-depth market research and to construct a feasible, practical business plan, because these will tell you whether your concept is a workable one. If it transpires that the proposal didn’t have legs, then at least you tried.
For many, the key to getting things right at this stage is to not allow your enthusiasm to get in the way of the practicalities. If your research tells you that a chain of drive-through psychotherapy surgeries with ice cream parlours attached is a terrible idea – and it probably IS – then you should accept it. In other words, find out the chances of success before you start ordering drive-through booths, road signs, stationery and bottles of butterscotch sauce. Listening to your head while your heart is rambling on and on isn’t always easy.
Another important consideration is to make sure you have an accurate understanding of your own abilities and limitations. If you think you’re the next Bill Gates because you’ve watched every episode of The Apprentice, your self-delusion could end up costing you dearly. Remember, even if you have eaten in a thousand good restaurants, it doesn’t make you a chef. Personally, I like to indulge myself with an artisan coffee from time to time, but the chances of me ever becoming a barista are as likely as me ever becoming a barrister.
So, if you’re an embryonic business whizz-kid with an idea, the best advice is to conduct research and listen to what it tells you. There’s a very real chance that your innovation could be the next big thing, but there’s always a chance that it could be small potatoes instead. As for the vital question about whether it’s a good time to start a business, it could be a yes or it could be a no. Everything will depend ultimately on the quality of your business idea. Just remember that your heart will probably be louder than your head, but both of them are equally important.
Rose Media Group, founded by Aneela Rose in 2004 and located in West Sussex, is a specialist B2B PR provider operating across many industry sectors.