Personal and Professional Predicaments: the Viability of Starting a Business in a Tough Climate
The stresses and confines of the modern world make it tough for us to see a way out, especially regarding the cost of everything. Everywhere we turn, people who had no concerns about their finances before are now finding themselves in hot water because of the cost of energy, food, and this general feeling of unease permeating everyone’s attitudes. One could argue that worrying about money is a default setting for most, but now we’ve reached the point where people are working in jobs that don’t pay enough, and they’re trying to think of a way around this.
During the recession in 2008, there was a record number of people starting their own businesses because they had, literally, nothing left to lose. And this is why so many people are still wondering about the viability of setting up a business in the current climate or at all. There’s a lot of pressure to make it future-proof, but it also needs to be feasible to provide personal development and offer advantages over traditional employment. In today’s challenging economic landscape, is setting up a business a more appealing option?
The Scalability of the Business Model
Many people who start a business dive in because they look at so many other entrepreneurs who had the backstory where they were at their lowest ebb and saw this hustle culture as the ideal opportunity to make a whole new life for themselves.
When we have a business idea, we need to consider if it’s designed for future growth or if it has limitations. Long-term success is the goal, and this means that we need to address whether our business concept can adapt to changes in the market and accommodate increased demand without compromising quality.
Scalability is a major investment, and this means having to keep our ears to the ground in relation to changes in the markets, technology, and each little movement within the market.
Understanding the Commitment to the Customer
People starting a business of their own can be incredibly short-sighted with regard to the initial workload. But it also means that those people who’ve harboured ambitions of being in charge of their own company can sometimes underestimate just how much customer service can go into keeping a business afloat.
Customer service is the absolute lynchpin of any business’s success. Therefore, anybody in a situation where they are determined to make the leap into entrepreneurship will need to recognise what goes into delivering stellar customer service. This could be incorporating live chat software for website pages, but also providing 24/7 communication in other ways, being responsive to emails, matching the tone of voice across every communication channel, and, of course, delivering amazing customer service that makes them want to come back.
This is an almighty investment, and those at a crossroads in life who believe running their own business is the best solution need to remember that the customer is the real metric that will dictate their success.
The Real Work That Goes into Marketing
There can be two schools of thought regarding starting a business. One approach is to dive in and learn as you go, but the other is to opt for a carefully considered attitude. The latter can be particularly beneficial for learning how to market your business by creating your ideal buyer persona and understanding how you can set yourself apart in terms of promotion.
Many people who love the idea of starting their own business make the mistake of believing that all you need is a Facebook page, and people will start coming to you. Unfortunately, it very rarely goes this way. For most of us, we need to learn how to market ourselves. Lots of people go down the e-commerce route because there’s a lot of support there, and others with some finances can opt into a franchise. When going down these two different routes, there’s typically a lot of support available. However, many individuals looking to start a business will have to learn a lot of information to set themselves apart.
Success in entrepreneurship hinges on understanding the market and identifying a niche. A gap in the market can be hard to find because there are so many products out there perfectly positioned. Many people think that as long as they invest in a strategy such as PPC (pay-per-click) marketing, where you can push your products to people online, they will be able to get the results. But it’s about understanding how much money you have to invest in these channels that may or may not bring about the custom. This is why many people look at a carefully considered approach in terms of promotion and learn how to find the right person to promote to.
Many amateur entrepreneurs think that they just need to increase their reach. But those who have been in the business of running a business for so long will attest that it has all to do with finding the right person in terms of demographics and gearing everything toward them. It’s also about ensuring that, when you get a customer on board, you can keep their attention. There’s also a whole minefield of supplementary components in terms of your marketing, such as your content, which could be blogs, infographics, videos, and so forth.
It is a massive market, and rather than feeling intimidated by the scope of work you will have to undertake, it’s far better to conduct that due diligence before you get out there so you don’t make the same mistakes as most budding entrepreneurs or wannabe hustlers make.
Entrepreneurship vs Employment
Many people are struggling to make ends meet based on the job they hold, and there’s this sense of feeling trapped. It’s not as simple as going and getting another job because of the sheer competition out there. Applying for one job is a mighty field of ensuring you get past the CV algorithms, and even if you get an interview, you then have to conduct so much preparation that could take weeks, all for a resounding “no.” It’s easy to see why this is overwhelming but also infuriating and can contribute to burnout.
Entrepreneurship, on the other hand, provides so much freedom because you are doing it on your own initiative. But then there is the balance to be had for regular wages, pensions, not needing to sort your own tax, and so forth. There are also the rigours of commuting to an office or doing the same job, day in and day out, for years with very little scope for progression. And then when we feel so trapped by our working week, we strive to find something that gives us a real visceral sense of purpose.
Balancing that sense of practicality versus ambition can only be determined by your circumstances. Being self-employed is for many people a sensitive matter, but those who are jumping into it without understanding everything can find themselves in for a shock. It’s not just about the feast and famine nature of being self-employed, but also the extra money you have to pay to your tax bill, keeping tax records, doing your tax return, and all of these additional pieces of admin that you need to understand before you set out on this road.
The Work-Life Balance Conundrum
Someone jumping into the world of business can feel a greater sense of purpose at the very outset that they are responsible for their destiny. But eventually, after a while, there can be a sense of apathy if there is no real motivation anymore. If it becomes like a job, this is when someone needs to ask themselves a lot of questions about if they can balance their work and their life.
Entrepreneurship often promotes flexibility, but can also demand more dedication than people realise. Therefore, we have to reflect on our preferred lifestyle and whether a work-life balance is feasible:
Are you prepared for the potential sacrifices and long hours that come with running a business?
Do you have understanding family members who will allow you the luxury to pursue your dream and make those mistakes during the first year?
This is why so many of us need to understand what we’re really trying to get out of this. When the allure of working for ourselves as an entrepreneur presents itself, we need to not just understand the practicalities of the role and the finances, but also if we can sustain both business and well-being.
Starting a business can be an amazing venture that is all predicated on the right attitude. There are so many different things to consider when running a business, but it boils down to the person. There are so many people who love the idea of the hustle but don’t take it seriously and think of it as an excuse to not join the working world. It’s easy to see why people are looking for more opportunities in life, but pursuing running our own business involves asking so many of the hard questions at the very outset.
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