March 20, 2013, by Malvika Johal

My guide to starting your own business – Part 1

Written by: R L (Bob) Hall (BSc, PhD; University Of Nottingham )
Owner & MD of Top & Jeffries Limited; Co-owner & Chairman of Fuel Additive Science Technologies Limited, Shropshire, UK

Are you thinking about starting your own business? I have compiled this twelve part series discussing my top- tips; pitfalls to avoid and best practice advice.

Starting and running a business is scary and tough but is very creative and incredibly rewarding. It facilitates personal development and in time allows freedom to do more of what you really enjoy and less of what you do not.

I am not Richard Branson, Lord Sugar nor some kind of example headline entrepreneur. I was also not the brightest PhD student on campus, but I bashed away with more determination than natural talent in order to meet the required standard. So why should you bother taking the time to read these thoughts? The only straight answer I can give is that I do wish someone had told me all this stuff 25 years ago. I might not have taken it all in, but I would probably have left mega-corporate life much earlier to set up my own businesses and avoided some common mistakes.

It took me until I was about 40 to have the confidence in my own skills and to realise that I was probably too independently minded to be a good fit in a mega-global corporate career. Having worked in both the corporate world and my own businesses I can appreciate both career paths for different reasons. The training; global experience and working with highly talented colleagues as well as  not having to worry about how the monthly mortgage is going to be paid were probably the main advantages of being in a large corporation.

Starting and running a business is scary but incredibly rewarding. I can honestly say it has pushed me to the absolute limit of my abilities and beyond, but is still so much better than my corporate life towards the end, which was spent travelling to and from airports at the behest of my boss. There are ups and downs as with anything, my partner and I have both looked at one another and stared into the abyss of potential financial ruin at one point in the early days, but paradoxically a healthier, sharper, more successful business plan was created from this stressful situation. I do not think the growth since would have been the same without this experience.

In my case it took me a long time to have the confidence to leap – this only came when I felt I really knew what I was talking about. Even then, I started as a technical consultant, which meant I was doing a similar day-to-day role for many companies not just one. Success there led me to realise I had more entrepreneur skills than I thought. Furthermore, I could not believe the opportunities out there that were just waiting for someone to pick them up and run with them. It was a weird combination between “seeing the light” but at the same time keeping my feet firmly on the ground and clicking into being brutally realistic.

This series discusses the ins and outs, best practice, and pitfalls of starting your own business and taking the leap into the world of being a budding entrepreneur. Be sure to subscribe to catch the next in the series.


Posted in Entrepreneurs