Has The Economy Forced You To Become An Entrepreneur?

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Salesman running with caseOver the past few years the UK economy has ‘forced’ many people to become reluctant entrepreneurs, through redundancy and lack of PAYE options. Well this blog is to sing praise to those people. I spend a lot of time encouraging and talking to small business owners advising them on matters such as social media marketing and sales skills.

I do appreciate that there are a small minority of people that never wanted to be self-employed and have hated every minute of the experience. I hope for their sanity that they have now found paid employment as the economy continues to improve.

For some people however, redundancy has simply been the best thing that ever happened to them. The old saying is “Necessity is the ‘mother’ of invention”, well in my experience (and indeed my own experience) some fantastic businesses have been born through necessity. I can also categorically say that not one business has been born through ‘apathy’!

I am simply fascinated by the myriad of business diversity in the ‘small sector’ and also the sheer size of it. According to the Federation of Small Business (FSB) 99.3% of ALL businesses in the UK are SMALL (employing 1-49 people) but they account for 47.9% of UK employment and contribute 36.6% of UK business turnover!

0.6% of businesses are classed as ‘MEDIUM’ (employing 50-249 people) and they are responsible for 11.5% employment and 13.6% of UK turnover.

According to the FSB only 0.1% of UK businesses are ‘LARGE’ which means they employ over 250 staff. Despite the tiny number (in comparison to small businesses) these business produce roughly 50% of UK turnover!

It is a slight digression but a big ‘hate’ of mine, that despite the above numbers, schools and universities put such value on a corporate career.

Anyway back to my entrepreneurs! When I speak to them, many have tales of woe and stories of long standing jobs snatched away from them at a very short notice. Rather than crumble and accept their place on the scrap heap prematurely, they decided to fight. They stuck two proverbial fingers up at the corporate or public sector treadmill to go it alone. These are the brave pioneers of small business and I love them!

Don’t get me wrong, being self-employed is not for everyone and many that start don’t even last a year! Here are four key questions to see if you should start a business:

  • What is your business idea? If it needs a lot of start-up capital that you would need to borrow then think long and carefully before doing that. Instead start small, generate cash & then grow.
  • Are you really ‘self-motivated’? Not just when things are going well, do you have a history of “coming up smelling of roses” after setbacks in the past? If not then keep looking for PAYE work.
  • Are you a ‘natural’ networker and/or sales person? No business can survive without customers. Get out to networking events BEFORE you launch and test your ideas on potential clients.
  • Can you ‘fund yourself’ for a few months? Redundancy is a great time to start a business as you have some cash to tide you by until you start to see a revenue stream.

What you don’t know can’t HELP you, so also attend seminars and training courses to learn new skills. The time and money invested will reap rewards.

Good luck!

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Sales Blog | Image courtesy of Graur Razvan Ionut at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Originally published: 11 February, 2014