Thinking about Starting
Why Start My Own Business?
Whatever your reasons for starting up, be clear about your business and personal aims and set
yourself goals. Thousands of new businesses fold because their owners did not set up, or even
identify, either business or personal aims.
The key aims of a business are known as 'the business mission statement'. You may be surprised
at how useful your own business mission statement can be in keeping you pointed in the right
direction, because if you have a firm idea of your aims and where you want to go, you are more
likely to succeed.
These are some examples of the points you might make in a business mission statement:
Example of a business mission
- To offer a first class business and personal minicab service throughout Anytown, exclusively
using Mercedes cars.
- To be the leader in the business and at the top end of the personal minicab market, and to
have a high-profile local business within 2 years.
- To make 40% profit on the money used to start the business.
- To expand the business from 5 cars to 10 cars within 3 years.
What goods and services am I going to provide?
You have probably already got some plans about what you want to do. Even so, it is worth looking
into other business ideas. And remember, you don't need a bright new idea to have a good business.
However, usually it is better to stick to what you know when deciding which type of business to start.
Start from scratch or buy an already running business?
The business that needs most careful thought is the one you start from scratch. No matter how
thoroughly you research your market, you are never going to be sure how good the idea is until
you are actually up and running. If you are offering a service or product with a difference, you
will probably grow slowly at first, while your market learns about you. To look at it positively,
an entirely new business may be the best way to take advantage of a gap in the market, and there
would be no price to pay for "goodwill".
If you are worried about starting from scratch, you might want to think about buying a business
that is already running. If you decide to buy a business, get professional advice before you make
any commitment, as it could involve a great deal of money!! Alternatively there is the option of
operating a franchise. A franchise is when you buy the right to use the trading name and system
of a business that is already running.
Have I the right knowledge?
As an employee you are dependent on your employer. But when you start a business, you are dependent
on your own ability.
If you can honestly agree with each of the 16 characteristics and points below, you have got what
it takes. If not, don't be too worried. At least you know your strengths and you can work on your
- I am realistic about my capabilities.
- I am self-disciplined and I do not let things drift.
- I have the full support of my family.
- I am ready to put in 7 days a week, if necessary.
- I can get on well with people.
- I can make careful decisions.
- I can cope under stress.
- I do not give up when the going gets tough.
- I can learn from mistakes.
- I can take advice.
- I am patient, and I expect a long haul.
- I can motivate people.
- I am in good health.
- I am enthusiastic.
- I know about the risks.
- I have specific aims.
Have I thought about the practical realities?
Think about your exit strategy, if you need to/want to sell you business. Look at your business
assets and whether it would be easy to sell them if necessary. If you have a specialised business,
even if it is doing well, you might have to wait a long time before you find a buyer.
Although there is no doubt that running your own business can be very satisfying, there is also
an enormous amount of hard work involved and problems to be encountered. As a potential business
owner it is important that you can foresee these problems so that they can be dealt with as quickly