Speaking with Your Spouse
Your spouse may not know a great deal about your great business idea, but you can be sure she knows a lot about you. Your spouse can remind you of your weaknesses and help you play to your strengths. She also needs to be prepared for the long hours and lack of holidays that are sure to feature in the early months and years as you get your business established. This may mean that you need to re-divide the existing sharing of household and family tasks, such as taking children to school, family visits and painting and decorating, to reflect the new balance of work.
Making Use of Your Professional Network
The people in your network of associates have large chunks of the knowledge you need to get your business successfully launched. The ability to create and maintain strong professional relationships is an important key to business success. Networking is a vital business skill that lets you cultivate lasting business relationships and create a large sphere of influence from which you can find new clients, contacts, referrals and opportunities.
Benefiting from Entrepreneurs Who Started a Similar Business
People like nothing more than talking about themselves and their successes. Obviously, if someone thinks you’re going to steal her customers, she shuts up like a clam. But if the business you plan to start is unlikely to infringe on their sphere of activities, most established entrepreneurs are only too happy to pass on some of their hard-earned tips.
Spending Time with a Friendly Banker
Despite having had a bad press during the credit crunch, these guys and girls have a lot to offer other than oodles of cash (or not!). Bankers see a lot of different people about a lot of different businesses. You can draw on their wide range of knowledge and experience. Your banker may be familiar with your type of business or the location you’re interested in, or have advice on different financing options.
Tapping into Your Local Enterprise Agency Director
Over 1,000 business experts are sitting in a local office somewhere near you just waiting to offer advice, help, encouragement and support to anyone thinking about starting a business. The even better news is that the services they provide are either free or low cost. Enterprise Agencies have been around for 25 years and are an initiative started by big business to help small business.
Communicating with Your Current Boss
Talking to your boss about anything other than the job in hand is always a tricky decision. Talk about your entrepreneurial vision too soon and you may find yourself sidetracked for promotion and pay rises and perhaps even first in line for the next downsizing event. Leave it too late and your boss may see your action as disloyalty at best and betrayal at worst.
Calling Your Colleagues
Those you’ve worked alongside over the years have formed a view about your talents. Your spouse has seen you after work, but they’ve seen you at work. If they don’t know your strengths, weaknesses, foibles and desires, then no one does. At worst they may tell you that you’re barmy and explain why; at best they may join you in the venture or invest their hard-earned savings in your business.
Bringing in Your Best Friend
On the assumption that your best friend isn’t your spouse, then she represents someone else who should be able to tell you whether you’re the right sort of person to start up the particular business you have in mind. You can start out by asking your friend to review your skills and knowledge inventory and so provide a valuable crosscheck on your self-assessment. In fact, you should always find someone who knows you really well to go through this and the business idea-evaluation process. Unfortunately, everyone’s capacity for self-deception is unlimited, and you shouldn’t miss any opportunity for a reality check.
Business angels have some attractive attributes. They aren’t as risk averse as venture capital firms; they act more quickly, putting up money in weeks rather than months; and they aren’t so fussy about your pedigree. But when it comes to giving a helping hand, they’re absolute stars. Using the business angel networks outlined in you can find an angel with expertise in the sector in which you have an interest.