June 27, 2014, by Genelva Meikle
My Guide to starting your own business – Part 12 Final words of wisdom
Written by: R L (Bob) Hall (BSc, PhD; University of Nottingham) Owner and MD of Top and Jeffries Limited; Co – owner & Chairman of Fuel Additive Science Technologies Limited, Shropshire, UK
It is risky to start up a business, but my perception is that the risk has not changed significantly over the years, especially during periods of recession. When I first started in corporate life in 1987, however, there was virtually no risk of losing your job unless you were either incompetent or an idiot. All that changed a few years later, however, when big oil companies started to lose staff at an in increasingly rapid rate. We all went sharper and leaner, then it cut into the bone and things that used to get done were either deliberately dropped or forgotten about. From what I continue to observe, it is still not totally safe being in the corporate world and people tend to hop from one corporate edifice to the next hoping to escape the bullet.
By doing your homework, you can establish boundary conditions for the risks involved in starting your own business. I definitely take risks and always have done throughout the life of my businesses. They are, however, carefully calculated risks and are not undertaken unless the worst case scenario can be tolerated. It also comes down to the fact that I would rather monitor the macroeconomic and niche market conditions myself and react in advance rather than wait for someone else’s interpretation and eventual decision to be thrust upon me. The bottom line is that risk is mitigated by the ability to react and control some of the impacts.
If you read all the press over the last 4 years, you would think that the UK economy is in dire straits and that the bankers have messed everything up for us all. It is not helpful engaging in this debate except to inject a bit of realism to recalibrate this impression. All the major trading indices have continued to grow since the financial crisis. Yes, it is true that obtaining finances to grow a business is much more difficult now than it used to be. In my opinion, however, this higher hurdle is overall a better thing for us. It ensures that your business growth plan is more robust and of a higher quality.
I also see business opportunities everywhere I look. From offering a guaranteed “on time” pre booked taxi pick-up service to processing natural gas in your home into diesel to fill up your car overnight. In fact once you start looking and are open to opportunities, it is very hard to switch off!
I hope you have found some of the contents of this blog useful. I would also be very pleased if a few of you would now at least consider starting their own business. Although difficult, it is easier than it seems with the potential personal development and satisfaction rewards being incredible.
Whatever your choice, I would like to close by asking you to ponder one more thing: When you eventually depart this world what would you have wanted to achieve and how would you like to be remembered by the folks that mean the most to you?. We are all lucky in having the opportunity to contemplate these questions and work on the answers. Personally, I am still figuring all this out. One thing I do know is that if I helped some of you in a small way I would have met my goal of doing my bit to try and leave this world ever so slightly better than when I arrived in it.
Good luck and best wishes, Bob