The new year can be the perfect catalyst for people to take the leap and start a business, but there are a few things you need to think about before taking the plunge.
Bret Ireland, National Recruitment Manager at First Class Accounts, has helped more than 110 people start their own businesses.
So he’s seen what makes a great business (and business owner) and knows what it takes to be successful in a new business.
We caught up with him to find out more.
The Pulse: Before we get down to business, could you give tell us a bit about your role?
Bret: First Class Accounts is a national bookkeeping franchise, and I help potential business owners work out whether starting a business is the right choice for them.
This involves me assisting them to review their life and work goals, introducing them to other franchisees so they can understand the realities of running a business, and briefing them on our company culture and expectations.
In my experience, I’ve found that if I have to ‘sell’ them on the idea of starting a business then they probably shouldn’t be doing it.
The Pulse: What are the main reasons why people want to start their own business?
Bret: Generally, they want more control over their professional and personal destiny, and want to develop a business that gives them greater flexibility and better work-life balance.
They’re also very motivated by having a real impact on the fortunes of other small and medium business by helping them get their finances in order.
The Pulse: Is frustration with a current job a good reason to start a business?
Bret: No. Everyone gets frustrated with their job from time-to-time but it shouldn’t be the reason to start a business.
If someone is unsatisfied in their current role, I’d advise them to look for a solution, rather thinking a new business with solve their problems – because nine times out of ten it won’t.
Starting a new business (especially from scratch) is a huge decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
To succeed in any business, you need a genuine passion for the sector and a desire to do whatever it takes to make it work — being cheesed off with your job just won’t cut it.
The Pulse: So what questions should potential business owners ask themselves to make sure they’re in the right headspace for success?
Bret: Why am I considering this? Is this the right vehicle for me to achieve my work, lifestyle, and financial goals? Am I prepared to make the sacrifices needed to develop a successful business? Do I have the financial back-up (working capital) so I can focus on the development of my business? Do I have the support of my partner or spouse?
These are all questions people really need to ask themselves.
Starting a business is exciting and rewarding, it’s a big commitment, and a lot of hard work.
So, I can’t stress enough how important it is for people to really analyse whether it’s going to be right for them.
The Pulse: What advice do you give potential business owners when they’re considering starting their own venture?
Bret: That opening a business isn’t a ticket to getting rich quick!
The bookkeeping sector, like many other sectors, relies on developing relationships and trust.
As a result, it can take anywhere from six to 18 months to develop a business with a strong foundation that turns a profit.
Talking to other business owners is also a good way to get to grips with the challenges — this can help people go into it with their eyes open.
It’s only by doing your due diligence that you can work out whether starting a business is going to be a good fit for you and your family.
The Pulse: What is it that sets apart successful business owners from unsuccessful ones?
Bret: Being the boss of a business is a tough gig that’s not suited to everyone. But the ones who thrive all have a never say die attitude.
Successful business owners are problem solvers who are quick to learn from their mistakes, are comfortable with accountability, and are highly empathetic to the needs of their staff and clients.