Going for Gold: Are you ready to take the leap to start your own business?

With the Winter Olympics just over, and the Paralympic Winter Games starting this week, the ski jump comes to mind when thinking about starting a new business: The challenge you have to conquer when starting at the top of the slope, and then taking a leap, not knowing if you are going to land safely, let alone whether a gold medal awaits you at the end.  

There are so many parallels with starting a business – making that initial decision to start, then taking the leap, hoping that your business is going to ensure a stable and sustainable future, and earn you the rewards you hope for.

However, unlike the ski jumper, entrepreneurs within the PO1-PO6 postcode areas of Portsmouth have the advantages of support all the way through the process, from first deciding whether taking the leap is right for them, then continuing during the leap and even in ensuring a safe landing.  The Outset Start and Grow programme provides this support in the form of workshops, coaching, grants and more – all designed specifically to help entrepreneurs maximise the chance of getting gold with their business venture.  The whole support programme is free, funded through the UK Government’s Community Renewal Fund.  

It’s easy to join the programme, you just need to fill in a simple enrolment form and then a business advisor will contact you and invite you to an introductory workshop to hear about what’s on offer. 

There are around 5.5 million small business enterprises (SMEs) currently operating in the UK, accounting for 99.9% of the UK’s business population. Every one of their founders was once a novice whose dream grew from a bud of an idea into a fully-fledged enterprise. So – whether you have an idea for your very first business or you’re a serial entrepreneur, whether you’re about to quit your job or you’re straight out of university, now could be the perfect time to launch your new venture. 

So, if you are ready for some hard work and to put your career in your own hands, then we have some reasons why starting your business might be a great next step for you.

Gold medals galore – the benefit of going self-employed

The last two years have been a time of reflection for all of us, so likely you have been doing some soul searching as well. Are you living the life you want? Are you happy? Do you have a purpose? If your unrealised dreams are keeping you up at night, and you can’t quiet the voice in the back of your head that keeps telling you to ‘go for it!’ then you have all the signs you need that it’s time to start a business in 2022.

Gold medals might not be the result of starting your own business, however, we have put together our top 10 rewards you can expect to gain from becoming your own boss and running your own business:

1. Be the creator of your own destiny

Working for yourself opens up so many more options in terms of how, where and when you work.   There’s nothing better than building your own successful business. Making your dream a reality, and knowing that all your hard work has finally paid off is a great feeling and is worth the stress and long hours it took to get there. 

2. Follow your passions

Many entrepreneurs start their own business to follow their dreams and fulfil their passion. Following your dreams will fulfil you in a way that working for someone else may not do. 

You are in charge of creating your business from the ground up, so you can shape your company to be something you’re proud of and that you may even be able to pass on to your children as your legacy.

3. Escape the reality of a confined job description

After time, a job becomes monotonous, mundane and unchallenging. Running your own business is constantly challenging and exposes you to every facet of business – from stapling and filing, to strategy, marketing, sales, and financial management. If you consider yourself a dynamic individual, your own business will definitely provide the dynamism you crave.

4. Get greater freedom and flexibility

If you’re starting your own business, you’re the boss. Want to go 100 per cent remote? Approved. Want to work part-time? Start a side hustle. Want to work from a remote island? No problem. Launch a lifestyle business!

In your own business, it is easier to structure your life around your work (as long as you design your business to run effectively without always needing your presence to oversee things). Spend extra time in the morning with your kids, come home for lunch, go to the gym during the afternoon and leave early because you can!

And if you’re serious about your business and if you can make it successful enough, you may never need to work again. That’s not just flexibility or great work-life balance, that is freedom forever.

5. Get a huge feeling of accomplishment every day

You can walk into your office knowing you are building something for yourself and that each hour spent is an hour spent on building your empire – big or small! Working for yourself is the biggest motivator as you have everything to prove and only yourself to blame.

Following your dreams is exciting, and you’re in control of your own success. The day-to-day vitality of your business depends on you, so you’ll be driven to make each day as productive as you can. You’ll know that your own hard work and drive will help you reap the rewards, and that’ll keep the fire burning in your belly to make each day count.

6. Get to show how creative you are

The pandemic has given way to brand new industries, and also entirely redesigned many traditional industries. In essence, there is an open invitation for disruptive ideas and novel products right now, especially as they relate to the changes in work and lifestyle caused by the pandemic. If you have a new idea or an innovative product you want to launch, now is the time to go for it!

It’s up to you to decide what your business will produce, sell, or which services it will offer – that’s exciting! Rather than following the formula of those who came before you, you’re looking at a chance to develop a concept or an idea that nobody else ever has. Even if you stay mainstream with your product or service, each day as an entrepreneur allows you to find new, outside-the-box ways to problem solve. Innovation and creativity are necessary traits for a successful entrepreneur, and you’ll hone those skills daily.

7. Become the expert in your industry

Instead of waiting for someone to give you a chance to be the best at something you’re passionate about, create your own opportunity.  As the saying goes, “Do one thing and do it well”, rather than trying to spread your time and money on many ideas that carry little weight.

Follow the words of Steve Jobs: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition”.

You’ll soon become a pro in your own industry, as well as a pro at a variety of new skills you’ll learn on the job. As your business develops, you’ll continue to pick up new knowledge and abilities. You’ll know how every tiny aspect of your operation works. You can’t get that kind of experience anywhere else.

8. Give yourself the opportunity to make serious money

Unlike a salaried employee, where there is generally a ceiling to the amount you can earn, in your own business the world is your oyster. Many people commit to starting a business with the dream of financial comfort. While it’s true that getting your company off the ground can take grit and result in some lean times while you’re getting started, the ultimate goal of being your own boss is cultivating financial independence. 

With determination and hard work, there’s no cap on how lucrative your own business can be. If you aspire to build wealth, there’s no reason why you can’t achieve that goal. The idea of an earning ceiling in your own business is really only confined by what you think you are possible of achieving. 

9. Choose who you work with

When you’re working within a big team, there’s a chance there’ll be someone who you don’t get along with. However, there’s not much you can actually do about it, unless you quit your job.  When you have your own company you don’t have to worry about this as you’ll get to handpick your team. If you surround yourself with positive and competent people, everyone will benefit and it’ll be easier to move the business forward.

Unless you are employed in an advertising, marketing, or public relations position for another company, chances are you’ll do more networking as the owner of your own business. To effectively promote and operate your company you’ll probably have to communicate and conduct transactions with people in related industries on a regular basis. Therefore, you’ll likely have more chances to meet other business owners and managers, so available networking opportunities become more abundant.

10. Get the chance to add real societal value to your community

Being a business owner and an employer adds huge value to your community and the wider economy. You can opt to support non-profits, charities, or community efforts with your profits. Or you can set up your business to solve a problem in your community or in the world at large – whatever your passion may be.

Having your own business gives you a sense of stewardship which is often lacking in an employee based career. Giving back by merely growing your business will make you feel great.

So – what’s stopping you? Make the leap today!

Knowing that each day brings new challenges, exciting opportunities, and a chance to engage your passion is reason enough to start your own business. Knowing that you’ve decided to take control of your own future is empowering. What are you waiting for? The time is now!

The pandemic has changed the way we do business. After months of not being able to shop in person, even the most reluctant have joined the online shopping bandwagon, with statistics showing a spike of nearly 40% growth in e-commerce since the start of the pandemic. Chances are there are tons of people online right now searching and shopping for what you want to sell. 

The Start and Grow programme offers grants, averaging £9k with a 10% match funding requirement from entrepreneurs. For example if your total costs are £10k, the grant offered will be £9k with you (the entrepreneur) contributing the final £1k towards the costs of your purchases. So – inject some money into your start-up by joining the programme.

“Ski jumping is just 10 per cent physical, 90 per cent mental. Some people can’t do that. It’s not just to do with the fear at the top. It takes a lot of guts to go off the top, but it takes 100 times more courage to jump off the end”.

Eddie the Eagle

We can’t all win gold medals, but the Start and Grow programme is here to optimise your potential for business success, and helps give you the courage to make the jump!  Our intensive pre-start business programme combines information sessions, workshops, online learning, mentoring, networking and peer support, all designed to set you off on the self-employment path. Individuals who complete the Start programme will receive help to develop a viable plan to develop their business idea, pre-qualify for investment through grant funding and launch their business. It’s completely free to entrepreneurs in Portsmouth – so take the leap and sign up today.