This guest blog is by Tim Campbell, the first winner of BBC TV’s The Apprentice and co-founder of the Bright Ideas Trust, a charity that helps people start their own businesses.
When we run business start-up workshops with young people at Bright Ideas Trust, we always ask them to share with the group why they’d want to own and run their own business. The answers are always very interesting and enlightening. Here are the six most common reasons to start a business:
1. Making Money
Many people want to run their own business because it offers them the opportunity to make money. Some want to make a fortune, while others want to earn a decent living for them and their families.
Some people say that if you set out in business with the sole aim of making money, then you will fail. It’s a good point. It’s more important to focus on providing customers with good products and services that they want or need, which will in turn build a fundamentally valuable business and the money will flow anyway.
2. Making a difference
By setting up and running a business, you will have the opportunity to make a difference. There are more and more people who want to start businesses for this reason and in recent years we have seen the development of ‘social businesses’ aimed at doing good things for society, while at the same time making a profit.
There’s no shame in this. In fact it’s essential there is profit for the business to continue. Typically, social business owners don’t earn as much as those seeking to make a return for shareholders, although they may still need to work as hard to be successful
3. Making a lifestyle change
Many people start their own businesses in order to change not just their job but also their way of life. Do you just want to create a better lifestyle for yourself with greater independence and flexibility in your working life? Most small businesses are most definitely in what is known as the ‘lifestyle’ category. These are businesses that have been created by the owners to provide a livelihood and income for themselves, as opposed to being aimed at being sold at some stage in the future.
There are many examples of people who have done this. They construct the business so it fits around their lives. This may mean working evenings and weekends to get time during the day to spend with others, which could in turn affect the opportunity to earn more money.
4. Making myself boss
For many, running their own business offers them a chance to be in control of what they do at work every day without the constraints of having to do what their manager tells them. Having your own business is one way of gaining independence, freedom and control in your working life.
Being your own boss can be liberating. There is no-one to tell you what to do, what actions to take, what hours to work and how hard to work. By the same token, the onus will be on you to get the work done to achieve the deadlines and fulfil the orders.
5. Creating a legacy
Creating a successful business that can be passed onto a family member can be a powerful motivator for many would-be business owners. Not so many businesses nowadays pass on through the family as the younger generation seems more inclined to do their own thing. Many businesses fail within the first five years so the chances of creating something that will last long enough to pass on may be limited.
6. Gaining self-fulfilment
The simple desire to gain some sort of personal, non-financial reward through your own business may also be a motivator. The phrase ‘work-life balance’ has come to be widely used and this is a factor behind many start-ups.
Seeing a business grow or getting a kick out of pleasing customers or simply watching the bank balance grow can be very fulfilling for some!