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Is this for me?

Starting a business can be an exciting, but at the same time rather daunting, experience. Good planning and detailed research can remove some of the pressures and help you get your new venture up and running.

Do I have the right personality to run my own business?

While anyone running their own business must have some skills or knowledge of the market in which they plan to work, there are a number of personality traits that will make it easier for you to succeed. These 'softer' skills include:

  • The ability to handle pressure - you will have to rely on your own abilities and motivation in meeting deadlines and making decisions.
  • Perseverance - starting a business demands determination and hard work, and at the outset this can often be for little financial reward. You must have the personal drive to keep going if your business is to succeed.
  • Dealing with other people - as a self-employed business owner you will need tact and diplomacy to deal with other people and negotiate effectively.
  • Self-confidence - you must feel comfortable promoting your business and the services or products it offers to a wide range of people.
  • Organisational skills - you will have to manage your time, carry out administrative tasks, handle the bookkeeping and find new customers, while still delivering goods or services to existing customers.

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What specific skills will I need?

As well as a range of softer personal attributes that will help you run your business, it is advisable to have some knowledge of the market in which you intend to work. Relevant skills include:

  • Professional qualifications - as some trades require professional qualifications or standards from people working in that field, you must check that you have the necessary qualifications in order to obtain licences or accreditation. A good starting point to research this is the Sector Skills Development Agency website at www.ssda.org.uk.
  • Business skills - such as bookkeeping or knowledge of employment legislation, may be useful. If you have no prior experience of running a business, it may be worth taking a business start up or management course. Learn Direct provides information on courses aimed at new entrepreneurs: see www.learndirect-business.co.uk for details.

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Have I got the right motivation?

You need to be clear as to why you want to run your own business and what you want out of it. There is no right or wrong reason for running a business, but by understanding your motivation, you can create a business that is more likely to meet your aims and objectives. For example, will the business be your main source of income, or will it supplement the income from another job? Is the business an investment that you intend to build up and sell off, or is it a long-term commitment that you see providing financial security for your family? The answers to these questions will help you get the planning for your business right at the outset.

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Hints and tips

  • Honestly assess your reasons for starting a business and plan accordingly.
  • Look at your own personality, your strengths and weaknesses and create a business that suits you.
  • Assess your existing skills and areas where you may have gaps in your knowledge and consider training to fill these gaps.
  • Make sure you have the necessary professional qualifications to run a business in your chosen field.

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