2012 has been pretty tough, hasn’t it?
Every time it looked as if the global economy was about to settle down, something else kicked off and we were plunged in to depression once again. The imapct on small businesses has been immense. People seem to be scared to commit to buying new products and services, waiting for the moment when the economy is given the all clear and our financial outlook starts to improve.
No matter what industry you specialise in, the chances are you have become a little wary of the thought of becoming an entrepreneur in 2013.
Even as we are still regaled with success stories of how other people have escaped the 9-5 grind and managed to make a strong living doing what they love, we can still see that giving up the security of a regular income and plunging in to the unknown of entrepreneurism is a risky move to make when times are tough.
So, given what we know of customer buying behaviours in times of recession, is it a good idea to start a new business in 2013?
While we know that any business can thrive given the right climate, drive and strategy, are you really ready to be the master of your own career destiny right now? If you’re thinking of making the jump out of the corporate grind in to managing your own business, it’s probably worthwhile considering the following points before you make your mind up.
Do you have the right mindset to be a business owner?
It’s easy sometimes to get swept away by all the hype around business ownership and online success. Everywhere we turn, we hear stories about people who made it rich, seemingly overnight, simply by tapping in to a relevant trend or coming up with a unique business idea. The truth is, however, that these success stories are very few and far between. Most of us make a decent living through very hard work, commitment and persistence.
If you’re expecting to make a million overnight, you probably aren’t ready yet to set off on your own in the field of business!
Have you chosen a workable niche?
If you’re anything like me, you come up with a hundred different ideas a day about how you could make money online, develop a new product or service, and transform the lives of your customers through new and innovative ideas. This is great, as it keeps us passionate and interested in what we are doing, and sows the seeds for creativity and future success. However, every business idea we have needs to be carefully tested out before we can tell if it will be viable or not.
How many other people are doing it right now?
Is there a real customer need for what we are proposing?
Is it workable, in the long term?
What happens if consumer appetite changes?
Can we actually make money from it?
Consider your market very carefully before deciding whether your proposition is viable for long-term success, or not.
Do you have the skills and knowledge to succeed?
No matter how passionate you are about your potential new business, if you don’t have the experience, skills and knowledge required to be a real player in the industry, you need to think whether it is the right sector for you. For example, I’m a huge fan of ballroom dancing, but I’d no more dream of setting up a training centre for it than flying. It’s one thing to be passionate about something, but quite another to have enough knowledge to be a real authority in your field.
If you don’t yet feel that you could speak confidently and authoritatively about your chosen niche, do more training, learn as much as you can, and then think again about launching your business.
Can you offer something different to your potential competitors?
The worst thing about brilliant business ideas is someone has usually thought of them before. While this isn’t an absolute rule, it’s likely that most things that you decide you would like to do have either been done before, and failed for a good reason, or are currently being done so well that it will be difficult to penetrate the market as a new entrant in to the sector. The way businesses succeed is to make sure that they have a unique proposition to everyone else out there – they can offer something better, cheaper, stronger, faster or more appealing than any other business in the market.
If you can’t find your unique selling point, refine your business idea until you’ve established exactly what you need to do to be a real player in the field.
If your answer to all of these questions is a resounding “YES!”, then it could be that 2013 is the very best time for you to make the jump in to being self-employed, and start your own business. If you have any doubts, however, it could be time to re-think your approach until you’re really sure that you’re ready to take the plunge.
Whatever you decide to do, I wish you every success and happiness for the New Year ahead.