Let’s face it. We are all looking at the current economic situation and wondering what will be the overall impact it will have on our family and friends. Are you one of the many who have dreamed about setting up your own small business and becoming part of the micro business explosion? There are a growing number of SMEs, over 56 million small enterprise business, which falls into the category in the UK of employing with a business size with fewer than 10 people.
Many of the pessimists will be questioning whether this is a good time to set up a small enterprise business, which may affect growth. The concept of small business has shown that many highly successful companies have started during a recession. Just two come to mind AIRBNB was born during the 2007-08 financial crises by two Californian friends Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia we can all see the success of this concept now; it is a global business valued at over £31 billion.
During this same period, a young Chicago-based entrepreneur created an owner-managed business using a website offering users discounts on local businesses and scholarships, called Groupon the website helped companies promote their products and services by offering special deals. The firm now has more than 6,000 employees, has been floated on the stock market, and has a reported valuation of around £2.5bn.
You look at these successful small enterprise businesses created by 20s something which have grown into medium-sized enterprises and beyond and wonder whether you are too old to start a micro-business? You may be surprised to learn that over 10 per cent of entrepreneurs are over 50 years of age and that in this age group your twice as likely to develop a successful business compared to those under 25 years of age.
So is it a good time to start a small enterprise business, the answer is yes, the major issues many have, particularly the older age group, of which I am one is do I have the technical skills, the entrepreneur passion for a starting a business. Very few individuals have all the necessary skills to build and manage a business, and this is not a problem because there is an army of freelancers who can work on aspects of your project to achieve the goal you have. All projects start with an idea, and from this, you can create a successful business.
Ideas for your small enterprise business
You have probably already got a well-researched idea for your business venture; it may be related to a passion, or hobby you have. Many people have started a successful business around their hobby. A recent addition to the BBC Dragon’s Den panel is Sara Davies who set up a business whilst at university creating crafting equipment and materials for the home crafter; this has now developed into an international company with a turnover in 2019 of over £30 million.
It is never too late to start a business at Paul Allen, at 62 years of age, an industrial engineer decided to take his lifelong hobby of making beer and wine and in partnership with his wife Betsy turn it into a business. They established Hope Distillery, a small enterprise business, where they distil high-quality alcoholic spirits of vodka and gin in Georgia, USA.
If you are struggling to think of practical business ideas, it is always useful to look at successful businesses in your local area, or further afield. A valuable source is to look at franchise business opportunities, not necessarily to buy one. Still, they will often give you some useful tips at the types of business which are currently thriving.
I would suggest that running a business from home and online are the most cost-effective way to start your business. You do need to consider any insurance you may need to cover your business assets. Some home contents insurance policies ask if you are running a business from home. If you are unsure about your needs, it is wise to seek professional advice before embarking on your business adventure.
I thought I would give you the flavour of some businesses you can start from home (professional advice, is invaluable if you are unsure of your liabilities regarding local planning and any insurance required discuss with a business insurance company)
Social Media Consultant
Start-up costs: £100 to £500
Equipment: a smartphone with an excellent digital camera
Today many local businesses have recognised that social media is an excellent and effective marketing tool. Promoting their products and services using Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter to name three social media sites, TikTok is fast becoming a favoured site amongst the under 25 age group. If this is an area in which you have the expertise, and know about essential marketing. Social media consultant may be a good opportunity for you.
You may charge a set fee for each project, or set up a subscription where you are paid a set fee per month. You can market and promote your services online with a blog and use social media sites to reach your potential business partners.
start-up costs: up to £1,000
Equipment: computer, design software
Do you have experience of using software such as Adobe Photoshop, or willing to learn and you are a creative designer, perhaps working as a freelance graphic designer may be ideal for you? There is an increasing need for image creation in all small enterprise business sectors, being able to solve local businesses problems through visual communication can be both satisfying and profitable way to make a successful living
You would be able to create websites, logos, and marketing materials as part of ongoing projects with local businesses. Web design can be self-taught using many of the available training sites; the key to success is to be proficient in the use of photo imaging software, understand the principles of design understand and relate to your client’s needs. You can promote your business designer services on a number of freelancer sites where you can promote as well as using your own website and social media sites.
Other possible opportunities include such activities as accountancy, business consultancy, will write all of which will require prior experience or be prepared to train into these roles.
The list almost endless, your business venture must be a passion and you must be prepared to spend many hours each week in developing your business idea, and recognise that there will be times where you have difficulties and fears. Still, it would be best if you were persistent and adventurous in providing solutions for any difficulties you encounter.
Conquer your personal fears
We all have our personal fears, and we may often find any excuse to avoid confronting our fears, and this is true of many people wanting to start their own business, if you’re going to turn a dream into a reality you have to take that essential first step, it will not be into the unknown because you will have a detailed business plan and professionals to give you support if you want it.
Fear 1: – How am I going to support my family if I leave my current job?
This is the major obstacle for most people when they consider starting their own business. In the current situation, where many
employees are concerned about the possibility of losing their current employment, in particular, the over 50s who may be questioning where they will find a suitable job with a similar salary to their current one. If you are made redundant starting your own business can be a viable option, however, find temporary jobs where you will have some financial stability be able to create your own business as a part-time venture during the evenings and at weekends until you are generating sufficient revenue to support your business and family.
Let’s face it; no one would start a new business and immediately resign from your current employment. If the thought of the extra work which will be involved in starting your business puts you off, is the fear one of leaving your current job, or the work you will have to do? Speak to any successful entrepreneur, and they will tell you that starting a business involves long hours and the support of your family.
Fear 2: – I do not have enough funds to start a business
Most of us don’t have thousands available to start a business. I would stress to those in the 50+ age group don’t use your pension
fund to fund the business, I have seen several colleagues who have used their pension funds to start their business most have been successful, but others have not and are left will little funds to support their retirement. Most new businesses don’t require large amounts of cash, by setting up an online store or business website building a web presence can be achieved with a relatively small budget.
Fear 3: – What if I do not make enough money?
This is a genuine risk with any business, look for ways you can develop other incomes streams. Perhaps working as a consultant, if you have the skills, either business or technical skills which other businesses would pay to help solve their business problem. Use affiliate marketing to promote products you already use in your business, such as accountancy software, or website development tools, to mention just two sources of income.
Fear 4: – What if I fail?
Most entrepreneurs will have failed before developing a successful business it is part of the well-trodden pathway for most business
owners. The only people who mention this are those that have never achieved anything themselves. You should be proud of yourself, and you would have learned so much about yourself and have developed additional transferable skills.
Success is often down to the “Never Giving Up” mentality and perseverance is often the main reason why a business is successful.
Fear 5: – I don’t have any qualifications?
Running a business has absolutely nothing to do with having qualifications, some of the most successful entrepreneurs have very few qualifications: –
Richard Branson- the founder of the Virgin Group, Michael Dell – Founder of Dell Computers, Alan Sugar -Business: Consumer electronics, Deborah Meaden- Holiday Industry & investor in new businesses (Dragon’s Den). Karen Brady Vice-Chairperson West Ham United
The essential skills are certainly persistence and willing to respond to the changes in the business environment to meet the needs of your customers. If you don’t have particular skills needed for your business the internet has a range of courses you can use to develop your skills, from building a WordPress website to learning how to manage the financial aspects of your business. There is also a vast source of freelance experts who will complete projects for you for a reasonable fee.
Stop Making Excuses and START Making Something
Having read this article, you may already have a business idea, or at least can start the process of evaluating your business idea and creating the process of building your business, don’t let procrastination stop you fulfilling your dream. You do not want to regret your inaction.
Online platforms: –
You need an online sales platform but not clear what feature you need? It very much depends on the type of business you are setting up. If you are promoting a business such as a business consultancy, landscape gardening, or any business where you are not selling individual products on- line a WordPress website may be the answer, there are numerous WordPress page builders you can use to build your website. This is a part of developing a website I enjoy; however, if you have no experience, you will need to go through a steep learning curve. The ones I have used are Elementor or, Brizy and Beaver Builder the choice is down to individual preference.
If you have specific needs the developers on Fiverr and other Freelancer sites will build a fully functioning website for your business. the price range to create a Wix or Shopify site will be in the range £200 to £700. I personally would use the design templates available and build my first site, again when the business is successful; you can enhance your website.
You are setting up a business where you will be selling products from your website you will need an e-commerce site, there are plugins you can add to a WordPress site to make it an e-commerce site, I would suggest using a specialized site such as Wix or Shopify because they already have a range of design templates you can use. and you can easily integrate payment modules into the site.
If you have specific needs developers on Fiverr and other Freelancer sites will build a fully functioning website for your business. the price range to create a Wix or Shopify site will be in the range £200 to £700. I personally would use the design templates available and build my first site, again when the business is successful; you can enhance your website.
Plan your business
You are now ready to start your micro-business. Procrastination should never be an excuse, You have identified your fears, and you are now in a good position you have carefully and thoroughly researched your business idea; you have a clear view of the micro-business you want to develop, recognising where you can replicate and most importantly improve on an existing competitor businesses.
What more do you need to do, I am sorry, but I must mention a business plan. If you are looking to borrow from your bank, or be awarded a grant from a small business enterprise fund, or the latest trend is to use Crowdfunding, you will need to present a business plan.
The plan gives a detailed outline of your business, the marketing niche in which it will operate and the most crucial question-how your business will generate income and why you will succeed when others have failed, your “unique selling proposition.” and your competitively within your marketing niche.
Top Hints: –
• In your plan, it is essential to be specific how you will deliver the plan.
• Be clear in your plan who your target customers are in the marketing niche and who you will be selling to and details of your major competitors. A big part of knowing whether your business will be successful is by understanding your customers within this marketing niche.
• The other essential part of the business plan is the finance section; this is where you describe how you will make a profit. Your plan is a useful tool not only for securing investment; it is a vital tool to assist you in monitoring your progress against your key objectives.
• So even if you do not require external investment for your project, it is vital to have a plan to ensure you are achieving your objectives and financial targets, therefore, this is a useful indicator data tool for your business.
The business plan templates are readily available free of charge from most of the Banks, and small business enterprise assistance programs one organisation which have a particularly useful package is available from the Princes Trust website, and you don’t need to be under 30 years of age to download it. Start today!