Could you be your own next boss?
Tired of working for other people? Start-up expert, Brian O'Kane, shows how to determine whether you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur.
Welcome to EmployIreland.com! I do hope that you’re successful in your job search.
I know that you’re sure the disenchantment that you feel today with your current employer will turn to excitement and commitment with your next job. You’re really going to try hard to pick the right employer this time. But, deep down, you know that you’ll be back here on EmployIreland.com in a few years time, looking for another job, as disenchantment sets in once again.
This time, why not pick an employer who only has your personal interests at heart, who only does what’s best for you, who will provide you with a continuously widening range of experience so that you’ll never be bored or not want to come to work.
So, who’s this wonderful employer? You are! You could be your own next boss.
Every year, about 20,000 Irish people – and many recent immigrants – start businesses, ranging for small part-time service businesses to very significant well-funded high-tech shooting stars. The business climate is right – the economy is booming, there are lots of supports for people starting off, and enterprise is in the air. And, for the pessimists among you, if it doesn’t work out, you’ll have learnt valuable entrepreneurial skills that a future employer will be keen to have on board.
Have you got what it takes?
So, how do you know whether you’ve got what it takes? Research shows, shows that successful entrepreneurs have:
• Strong needs for control and independence
• Drive and energy
• A point of view of money as a measure of performance
• A tolerance of ambiguity and uncertainty
• A sense of social responsibility
and that they are good at:
• Setting (and achieving) goals and targets
• Calculated risk-taking
• Committing themselves for the long term
• Dealing with failure
• Using feedback
• Taking the initiative
• Seeking personal responsibility
• Tapping and using resources
• Competing against self-imposed standards.
How do you measure on these criteria? Be honest with yourself – but don’t be too hard, no one has all these qualities in full measure.
Or, for a more formal analysis, try the Entrepreneurial Index, a psychological profiling tool especially for entrepreneurs.
However, you do it, you need to conduct a rigorous self-assessment. Ask yourself:
• What skills and experience do you have?
• What training do you need?
• What characteristics do you have that will help (or hinder) you?
• Why do you want to start a business?
Write down the answers – it’s not as easy to fudge uncomfortable answers in writing.
Clearly, you need a business idea. You’re on your own here, although some of the City & County Enterprise Boards run Idea Generation workshops (see http://www.empower.ie for links).
Then you need to learn how to plan a start-up. Not just write a business plan, which will be necessary, but to do the research that gives you the material to write the business plan and, more importantly, to guide you as you grow your business. Consider a “Start Your Own Business” course – again, the City & County Enterprise Boards run regular courses, Enterprise Ireland and FAS have a new Enterprise Start initiative, and Oak Tree runs START-UP BOOT CAMPs, packing everything you need to know about starting a business into an intensive one-day learning experience. For more information, and direction to hundreds of organisations that may be able to assist you, see http://www.startingabusinessinireland.com, THE source of information for start-ups in Ireland.
And, you’ll probably find that you need some funding. Again, there’s lots of money available for good projects – in fact, there’s never been more available from more sources. So, if your project doesn’t get the funding you think it needs, you probably need to look hard at it again – back to the business planning, the quality of which is what will make or break your fledgling business.
This time next year
You probably won’t be a millionaire – not unless you’ve been on TV with Chris Tarrant, that is! The reality is that you probably will have earned only a fraction of your current salary, you’ll have significant debts, you’ll be working all the hours God sends you – and you’ll be having the experience of your life! More important, as your own boss, this time next year, hopefully you’ll be back on EmployIreland.com – this time, looking for staff. Good luck!
If you want to explore the notion of starting your own business further, here are some useful resources:
• http://www.startingabusinessinireland.com – THE resource for start-ups in Ireland.
• http://www.empower.ie – for links to the City & County Enterprise Boards, your first port of call.
• Starting a Business in Ireland, 5th edition, Brian O’Kane, Oak Tree Press.
• Starting Your Own Business: A Workbook, 2nd edition, Ron Immink & Brian O’Kane, Oak Tree Press.
• Fire in the Belly: An Exploration of the Entrepreneurial Spirit, Yanky Fachler, Oak Tree Press.
• START-UP BOOT CAMP, Oak Tree, an intensive one-day learning experience, see http://www.startingabusinessinireland.com for details.