Magazine article Management Today

First-Class Coach

Magazine article Management Today

First-Class Coach

Article excerpt

Q: I've recently been made redundant with quite a good pay-off, as I'd been at the company for a long time. Given how hard it seems to be to find a job, should I be thinking about starting my own business?

A: The right answer depends on you: your personal circumstances, your experience and, most importantly, your temperament. There are dozens of books on starting your own business, with excellent advice on how to write a business plan and where to look for funding, but almost nothing published on the crucial question of whether you should start one at all.

The first question to ask yourself is this: am I contemplating this because it's something I've wanted to do for a long time or is it more a case of finding myself with the wherewithal to do it? Getting a business off the ground takes both energy and staying power if you are going to successfully ride the peaks and troughs of the launch period. If your current interest and commitment to a new venture are less than 100%, then it will be worth undertaking a personal voyage of discovery into your own working preferences and the realities of being the founder of a new business to establish whether this new career is likely to suit you and lead to success.

Start by reviewing your career to date. What aspects of your previous employment provided the greatest satisfaction: the role, your status, the remuneration, your achievements, the recognition you received, the working environment, your colleagues? And what elements of your working life were less satisfactory? Now apply this template of the positives and negatives of your work experience to the business venture you are considering. How could you ensure that in future you have more of what suits you best in your professional life? And how could you minimise the potentially troublesome issues? Would the trade-offs required of you be worth making?

Next, consider your personality and how it might help or hinder you as the founder of a business. Would you describe yourself as entrepreneurial - by which I mean do you tend to have commercial ideas and find ways of exploiting them? If so, you may well have the flexibility and market awareness required to make a go of your own business, providing you make sure you have the right back-up financially, operationally and emotionally.

On the other hand, do you regard yourself as prudent and risk-averse? …

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