The easiest time ever to start a business. Seriously.

Seriously? After the credit crunch and double-dip recession? Yes.

Sage recently carried out a piece of research on entrepreneurship in the UK and found that…

… more parents (50%) are considering starting their own business in the next 2 years than those with no children (40%). One in five budding entrepreneurs wants set up their own business as they want a job that fits around their family life.  However, on the flipside, half said they are concerned about starting their own business as their family life means they appreciate the stability being employed gives them.

To that I would say “So what’s stopping you?”. The old days when you had little choice but to give up your job, get a huge bank loan and then work full time on your start-up are now over.

Instead, you can start a business in your evening and weekends, test your concept and grow your entrepreneurial muscles all without risking more than a few hundred pounds. How? Start any business that doesn’t involve a commitment to bricks and mortar or much stock, so I’m talking eBay, pop-up shops, Etsy and stalls at events or markets as well as online stores.

In my experience, what holds people back is the way we have been trained to only accept payment in return for employment. There’s this weird mental barrier in finding something that people want to buy and exchanging it for money. Learn more about this exchange process (selling in its most basic, one-to-one form) and how to do it well and you’re well on your way to starting up on your own.

Yes, the fact that starting up is so easy means that there’s a lot of competition and many copycats out there. But many don’t have the stamina, creativity or determination to keep going. You do.

So are women’s attitudes different to men’s? Sage say..

Women (41%) are less likely than men (44%) to consider starting their own business in the next two years; with the greatest challenge for women (23%) being not knowing where to start. For men the biggest perceived challenge is access to funding (28%). Women also worry more about the stress of starting their own business (30%) but interestingly are less likely than men (19% to 24%) to feel they don’t have what it takes to succeed in the current economic climate.

It’s no surprise that women are less willing to risk debt, and I’m sure the fear of stress comes from already having a lot on our plates.   But how much of this is a vague fear that comes from out-of-date assumptions about what it takes to start a business?

Of course, if you genuinely have problems with debt then it’s best to seek insolvency help or debt recovery advice or get in touch with the Citizens Advice Bureau.

As for the economic climate, yes people are more careful with their money at the moment. But there are signs that things are picking up and our communities are actively looking for new businesses to revive them. The Portas Pilot Towns (my home town Bedford is one) are a great example of this.

So don’t be held back by outdated beliefs about starting your own business. Keep it simple: find something, sell it and learn from the process. Then repeat it.

Want some company as you start your business? Click here to get my newsletterI’ll also send you a copy of  my e-book Running a business around a family: 9 steps to success.

Comments

  1. This is a really encouraging piece, and it is great to hear that more and more Brits are able to consider the possibility of having a family and running their own business. It is vital that we boost the confidence of prospective entrepreneurs who are influenced by outdated fears over the difficulties of starting a business, as well as help them understand that technology – and a shift towards more positive perceptions of flexible and remote working – has made it easier than ever before to roll a business out gradually and work the management of it into your everyday life, even if that means during evenings or weekends.

    • Thanks Julie, much appreciated. I think there is still this perception that business=risky and employment=safe, even though the last few years have shown just how unreliable employment can be. I would like to see more people dipping a toe in the world of business in a risk-free way, building up their skills and experience as well as an extra income on the side. That way they have the option to grow a business if they want, or just have an income as back-up if they lose their jobs. As you say, more positive perceptions of flexible and remote working would help a lot, too.

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