Despite the fact that it’s been going on for several years now nobody seems willing to describe the recession as a depression or, worse still,
The “Great 21st Century Depression“.
Ironically, depressions, recessions, downturns or financially disastrous eras are actually great times for small businesses. Many large, household names started out in the back bedroom and/or garage of a singularly unemployable desperado!
For anyone facing redundancy or coming to terms with it, starting up your own firm is a serious and potentially lucrative option.
So where to start?
Business that Booms |Start-up essentials
If you are in the lucky position of still having a job, then consider starting up part-time. Even if you’re boss hasn’t already started looking at you sorrowfully, it can be a good idea to have a plan B in the form of a small business of your own. Starting up part-time also offers you the chance to assess how successful your idea is and what potential it has. Rely on your strengths and develop a hobby or interest into a business.
You can search the internet and find a billion “work from home” or “internet business with no effort” plans. Most, if not all, will be a scam of some sort; at best they’ll offer you sensible advice at an insensible price.
In terms of business advice there a range of excellent services from provincial and federal government sources, which are either free or heavily discounted. Use your existing skills and any free advice to build your business. Get rich quick schemes generally only work for the people selling them.
Plan your business clearly. A business plan can help you to identify your goals set timescales and then work to them. Most plans will evolve with time and experience, but it’s worth working towards a goal otherwise you risk being side-tracked and forgetting what it is you do best.
Business plans are also beloved of the banks and other lenders, they love stuff in black and white and it can help to access both loans and grants.
Think about the type of IT systems you’ll need. Running your own firm is not all about the day job and it can often be more about all the extra little jobs you need to keep the business running. A website is normally considered essential today, while a range of software will be useful for managing administration matters. Accounting software is one of the crucial business tools you’ll need.
You can limp along for a while with a homemade spreadsheet and word documents, but limp is the best word for this approach. Accounting software allows you to manage your cash flow and this is one of the most important aspects of running a business.
Learn to manage your time and remember to take time off. Running your own firm is never nine till five and nearly always incorporates a hefty amount of “overtime”. The more of this you are doing the lower your hourly rate drops. This is where having good software to manage your business can really help but taking time off shouldn’t be overlooked.
In the early days the imperative to get cash in can be overwhelming but the more hours you work, the less well you work and the less creative you become. Many first time entrepreneurs fall foul of this so be careful to manage your working hours and your downtime carefully. Running your own firm can be an excellent way to survive the recession; surviving running your own firm, however, requires careful planning, time management and a selection of simple to use software, including accounting software.
Carlo Pandian is a freelance writer and blogs about business, accountancy and technology covering everything from QuickBooks Online accounting software to self-employment issues. He loves speaking at conferences on how internet can help small businesses to succeed.