Recent decades have seen a sea-change in the way careers are pursued, progression through different levels of employment are made, and job security is offered.
Quite simply, employment prospects seem to offer considerably less certainty and contracts appear to become shorter and shorter term.
A result is that more and more individuals are thinking about starting up a business. Indeed, the National Federation of Self-Employed and Small Businesses reports that the number of startups in the UK is currently growing at an annual rate of 3% and 99.9% of all private sector businesses are small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs).
Here are some ideas which may help if you are thinking of joining this army of entrepreneurs:
Start with an idea
- it all starts with an idea, says the government website, in what might seem like a statement of the obvious;
- to test whether that idea has a realistic prospect of generating an income amounting to your livelihood, the more important step is likely to be your development of a business plan;
The business plan
- the business plan represents a long, hard look at how your idea might translate into the real world of competing products and services, together with your evaluation of the likely demand from new customers;
- it is a structured plan which typically considers the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your idea and how it might work in the market place – from the initials of that assessment, it is usually called a SWOT analysis;
- your business plan also considers the most appropriate form of legal entity for your business – you might set up as a sole trader, for instance, a partnership, or a limited liability company;
- the decision is also likely to affect your requirement to register the business with HM Revenue and Customs for income tax purposes;
- from the very word go, your startup might need the protection of business insurance;
- this is an umbrella term for a whole raft of safeguards – from commercial property insurance, to protect the premises from which you operate, to public liability, employer’s liability insurance, product liability insurance and professional indemnity;
- at UKinsuranceNET, we are able to offer this complete range of different forms of business insurance;
- funding for a new business is perhaps one of the most common stumbling blocks – and might represent the acid test of the reality, feasibility and viability of your business idea in the real world;
- in fact, there is a surprisingly wide range of potential sources of funding, including bank loans, investment by business angels or venture capitalists, crowdfunding and peer to peer lending;
Development of your idea
- however good your initial business idea, it is unlikely to be set in stone, but need to develop and change in response to actual market demands, customer preferences and financial performance;
- it is this degree of flexibility and the your imaginative and creative response to the market itself which is most likely to determine the ultimate success of your business.
With traditional patterns of employment and long-term commitment to a single employer under rapid change, more and more people may be turning to the opportunities offered by running their own business and being effectively self-employed.