Think you have an idea which will take the world by storm? Do you spend your commute fantasising about being your own boss and building a business empire based on a niggling idea which just won’t go away? Or how about day dreaming about freelancing from the side of a mountain or far flung beach?
Before you take the leap, Go Simple Tax have a few bits of advice from those who have tread the path before you.
What makes a great entrepreneur?
You need clear goals from day one, with micro goals along the way, and iron cast determination to keep you going. You are going to feel the pressure and work long hours, so you need to be sure you are on the right path.
You will probably have to take some pretty big risks along the way – financially or leaps of faith. You will have to give up the security of a guaranteed monthly wage, maybe a pension and perks like holiday pay or private healthcare – this is what stops many people from chasing that dream. Which leads on to needing….
Lots of confidence
Entrepreneurs believe in themselves. They understand that big challenges bring big rewards. This is why entrepreneurs see opportunities where lesser mortals see problems.
You will need to stay ahead of the competition – stay sharp, keep learning, always aim to improve and evolve. Never let your business stand still. Successful business owners are always reading industry news, always attending events and networking and always looking ahead.
Richard Branson, everyone’s favourite entrepreneur, says: “If you are an entrepreneur and your first venture wasn’t a success, welcome to the club! Every successful businessperson has experienced a few failures along the way. In the US, most investors will look at an entrepreneur’s past failures before making a decision, not because they are worried about it, but because they want to see that that person can withstand the occasional knock. Resilience is one of the hallmarks of an entrepreneur who stays in business in the long term.”
You will need fire in your belly to keep you going through the tough times. Wanting to make your mark on the world with your business idea will push you through the obstacles to success.
You never know what is around the corner, and although having a plan is crucial, you also need to be able to change and adapt that plan as you go. Sticking rigidly to a preconceived idea of what your business will become, could be detrimental in the long term.
You need to keep a tight grip on your finances from day one. Track your invoices and expenses, make a budget and stick to it, and keep a cushion of money for difficult times. Try out some of the really useful tech solutions available now to help you.
Tax especially can catch a lot of newly self-employed people out. Try using SimpleTax – it allows you to track sales and expenses as you go, so you know how much tax you are likely to pay. No nasty surprises. Plus the app version allows you to scan receipts as you go – so no panicked searches for stray bits of paper come January. You’ll also save a few hundred quid as you won’t have the need for an accountant to file your tax return.
Get out there and meet as many people as you can. Talk to people, be helpful and friendly. Think about how you can help people, rather than how they can help you. This will build you a bank of goodwill which will pay off over time.
Remember the basics – develop a simple website, print some business cards, update your Linkedin profile. Keep things clear, make sure people understand what you can do for them.
If you can’t sell your product or service, then who can?!
Lastly, to quote Mr Branson once more: “If you don’t like being an entrepreneur, you’re doing it wrong. When you can’t wait to get to work in the morning and you are generally having a good time, there is a far greater chance that you’ll create a positive, innovative atmosphere and your business will flourish.”
So, good luck! The risks can be large and it can be a tough road, but the end result may well be worth it..