Feel the fear and do it anyway

Setting up a business can be daunting, but don’t get turned off by a little nervousness. Here’s how to overcome some of the common negative thoughts that can get in the way of you starting-up.

The prospect of setting up a small business is a bit overwhelming at the moment in Australia. The number of businesses registering for GST fell to 7,000 in June this year, down from close to 14,000 in June 2010 and June 2011.

Small businesses total 2.7 million in Australia and employ over 5 million. The Government tells us we’re ‘the engine room of the economy’ but if we’re not setting up new businesses, we’re not creating jobs.

Having set up a business four years ago, I can confirm it is hard work. No amount of planning or reading can really prepare you for it either. But the best things in life usually are. Don’t they say the same thing about parenthood? So if you’re thinking about setting up a business and have any of the concerns listed below, perhaps it’s time for a rethink:

 1. The risk is too high, too many small businesses fail

There are so many different statistics out there, from 80 percent of businesses between one and five years old failing to 90 percent of small businesses in their first year. Ignoring them completely would be irresponsible but these figures need to be put in context. Many of these businesses actually choose to stop trading and only 10 percent actually go bankrupt each year. The most common problem for small businesses failing is cashflow, so if you master this, the chances of you being one of these statistics is greatly reduced

2. I don’t know the first thing about accounting, IT, marketing or contracts

You can learn. The choice of technologies aimed at the small business market today is truly amazing. These technologies, many of them cloud hosted, are easy to use and really cost effective. They’ll also enable you to work from anywhere, providing you access from wherever you are, saving you time and money.

 3. I’m on my own

Starting a business on your own is tough. Having a supportive family and friends is important but not imperative. There are many examples of successful business men and women who have come to Australia from other countries, having had to leave their families behind. Or business owners, who have deliberately moved interstate to set up businesses, leaving their personal network behind. It can be done.

 4. I haven’t got a business plan

Most small businesses don’t. While it is important to document who your target audience is, how you’re going to market to them, your projections for the business and the opportunities and threats, it isn’t as important as getting money into the business. Set yourself a timeframe about how soon you want to start making money and stick to it.

5. I’ve got a family to support

It is tough to start a business, especially when you’ve got young children but it’s not impossible. A growing number of women who have had children and don’t want to go back to their old jobs full time are creating jobs for themselves and others. The cost of childcare is often cited as a barrier for both men and women starting up their own businesses, but a cost worth bearing when you consider the flexibility running your own business will provide over the long term

So if you’re unhappy in your job and would love to set up your own business, just do it. I’d recommend spending as much time as you can setting up your business while you’re still employed, but once everything is in place, hand in that notice. The most successful businesses are often those set up in challenging economic climates and with the technology available to small businesses today for a fraction of the cost that it was just a few years ago, there really is no better time to set up a business in Australia.

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