LAUNCHING A BUSINESS: WHAT HOLDS YOU BACK?
A lovely idea or your future reality? We tackle the biggest obstacles to being an entrepreneur.
It can be daunting contemplating launching your own venture. You start off full of excitement about your ideas, you have the vision and make all the plans, but then reality kicks in and you have to make it work financially. It only takes a couple of negative comments as you discuss it with friends and family and your confidence gets knocked.
Starting a business certainly isn’t easy but if you do have a clear vision you’re already well on your way to building your dream business. Getting your finances in order from the outset will give you the right tools to succeed and keep going.
According to Square, the global payments company, these are most pressing challenges for female business owners when it comes to keeping their business going:
56% say making enough money overall
40% say cash flow (managing what’s coming in and out and when to pay bills rather than overall income)
18% say keeping up with technology
Making enough money
In my experience, lack of financial confidence is often the main cause for doubt and concern. Great ideas won’t necessarily make the most money and it takes a really honest conversation to ensure the numbers make sense. Speak to an accountant or business adviser to get a professional second opinion. Although talking it through and picking it apart may seem daunting, a sense check like this might be all the reassurance/feedback you need – and it doesn’t have to feel like Dragons Den.
Ask yourself the right questions from the outset and you’ll certainly head in the right direction:
Is my business idea likely to earn the income I want from it?
What are my costs and overheads and is the business profitable?
Is my business idea sustainable? ie will it still be profitable in 3-5 years time, and beyond?
Will I have enough money to start up?
What do I need to invest in, ie people, space or technology?
Who will buy my product or service and how will I sell it?
Having sufficient cashflow
Will you have enough money to pay your bills and keep a roof over your head? It’s very easy to bury our head in the sand and avoid dealing with the financial status of the business. Keep on top of your record keeping from the outset, using online bookkeeping software to track your income and outgoings and build a framework you can stick to. Losing track of your finances is the simplest way to lose cash, so try to stay one step ahead from day one. You don’t need to be a qualified bookkeeper, there are many software providers who give free training for business owners and there are tons of online tutorials showing you how to keep on top of the basics.
Keeping up with technology
This can indeed often be an area of weakness – can you keep up? The ever evolving changes to software, social media and technology can be a challenge if you feel out of the loop. It takes cash to invest in tech and time to learn and adapt. With so much technology available to choose from it can certainly be overwhelming, but the biggest obstacle female business owners face, according to Square, is the cost being too high. Perhaps the fear or not making enough money to get the desired return inhibits people investing in technology because of the cost, rather than the fear of the technology itself. You have to take a leap of faith rather than get left behind.
No doubt about it, running a business is a serious endeavour. But if it gives you the flexibility you desire and gets you one step closer to fulfilling your dreams, it’s worth the effort and initial insecurity. Despite the challenges, being a business owner is exhilarating. Most people do it to work towards having more freedom, combined with the opportunity to fulfil their purpose. If these are things that matter to you, it’s well worth making a go of it, so if you have a business idea write up a plan, find a tribe of likeminded people who have your back and keep reminding you of all the positive outcomes… and go for it!
Faye Watts is co-founder of Audrey, founder of Fuse Accountants and a strategic business consultant fayewatts.com.