5 benefits of starting your own business
By Gemma Barham
The idea of running your own business can initially seem daunting, but there are plenty of advantages in doing so. If you’re willing to take the leap, you can take control of your employment opportunities, create flexibility for yourself and change your life for the better. Anyone considering start-up up a business needs to really consider if it is for them, as it takes a huge amount of hard work and effort to create a successful business – as distinct from earning a bit more from a hobby.
We’ve picked our top 5 benefits below, and to ensure we give you a really balanced picture, a couple of the downsides below each. As passionate enthusiasts of enterprise, of course we’re biased in favour of the upsides!
1. Independence and flexibility
One of the key rewards of starting a business yourself is the independence you will gain from it. Being your own boss enables you to be as flexible as you wish; working wherever and whenever you want to, and of course for mums, can be fitted around childcare and school runs. Early morning or late at night is when many people are most productive. Running your own business enables you to choose your own hours and technology means you can easily work from home, meaning you don’t need to worry about transport (and costs!), smart dress codes or taking time off for the boiler service. It also means that you no longer answer to anybody else, do what you think is best, can take your own time to get things done, and are able to completely follow your own instincts.
The downside to this is that, depending on how much you want to grow your business, those extra hours will eat into your personal time, so make sure your family are fully supportive first! Whilst not having to worry about your boss can be great, you don’t get any sick pay if you’re ill, or employers pension, or paid holidays.
2. Personal fulfilment
Running your own company can give you a great sense of satisfaction in life. Having complete control of your work gives you more self-confidence as you are able to take chances, do things differently, try out new ideas, and take your own risks (or not). Doing things yourself, without relying on a manager to instruct or tell you what to do, means you gain invaluable learning experience which will stay with you and help you throughout your entire career. You are the only person standing in the way of your success and the achievement of your ultimate goals in life.
Overcoming challenges is always a rewarding learning experience, but running a business is very different from gaining functional skills in a job, there is so much more you have to learn about – and sort out yourself. Fortunately, there’s lots of information online to help you, such as Outset Online, so you can avoid making costly mistakes,
3. Job security
Another benefit of managing your own business is the job security that you won’t have if you’re an employee. Working for someone else means there is no complete certainty of whether or not you’ll stay in that job from one year to the next. Whereas if you are your own boss, as long as your business is doing well, you will always have a job. And if your company does begin to struggle, you can take matters into your own hands to recover from any drawbacks.
When you are employed, you have a lot of rights – notice, sick, holiday and maternity pay, and so on. However, things can change outside your control leading to job layoffs, redundancies and restructures. In your own business, everything is down to you so you have more control over your destiny, provided you are certain that you can sell to enough customers profitably to make a sustainable business. But even here, markets can shift rapidly, new laws are introduced, new competitors arrive who can do the job better or cheaper, so the job security that people enjoyed a couple of generations ago no longer really exists either in employment or in business.
4. Creating jobs
The harder you work to grow your business, the more your business can improve the lives of others. Not only will you be able to provide more money for yourself and your family, and build something valuable for the future, to sell or pass on, you will be able to employ more people, giving them career development and impacting their lives for the better. When running your own business, you’ll always be meeting other owners and managers, broadening your personal and business networks, and enhancing opportunities for collaboration and friendship.
The downside of growing a business is employing more people! You have to find the right people with the right skills, train them, manage them and keep them motivated, set up payroll systems, and abide by strict HR and Health and Safety laws. You will have to pay employers tax on their salaries, and contributions into their pensions. This is probably why 75% of all UK Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are sole traders and 96% employ less than 9 staff!
Finally, one of the many benefits of starting your own business is the money, though for many people this isn’t actually the main driver behind taking the leap into their own business (quality of life is high on that list before people start). Whatever profit you make is your own and it’s your choice what you do with it, so the harder you work, the more profit you should make. You can decide to reinvest it in growing the business, or taking a higher salary or dividend so that you can go on that dream holiday or buy that new car. And of course, if you grow a very successful business over time, you will eventually be able to sell it and walk away with the rewards of all your hard work!
You need to be patient – financial rewards usually don’t come quickly unless you have really got an innovative product or service which solves an existing market need or want, which will mean you have a lot of ready customers willing to pay a good price. Most markets are highly competitive, and you will need to ensure you’ve got sufficient money to take you through until you’ve built a strong client base.
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