When is the right time to start a business?

At the beginning of 2022, there were 5.5mn small businesses in the UK, and if you’re one of the 64% of Britons with a passion to start their own business in the future, you may be contemplating when’s the right time to start.

However, there is a difference between starting a business and starting a successful business.

That difference can be down to how prepared the new business owner is – even the most successful entrepreneurs have found that starting and growing a business comes with hard work and sacrifice.

Before you start, it’s advisable to consider whether you have a promising business idea and whether you have the time, money, and energy to see it through to a successful enterprise.

Signs that it may be the right time to start your business

You want to be your own boss

If you’ve always wanted to work to your own schedule and manage your time, you may enjoy your work more knowing you are your own boss.

Working for yourself gives you the autonomy to choose what projects to take on, organise your workload, and work flexible hours, which can be convenient when fitting your work life around personal and family commitments.

You have a workable business idea

If you have a viable business idea that you believe could attract a particular market, or perhaps you have thought of an ingenious product or service that isn’t currently in the market, it might be a sign to go ahead and bring it into fruition.

You know your customers

Understanding your target market is essential to running a successful business, as this can help you to gain insight into their problems and where your business can provide a solution.

You may better understand your customers by relating to their wants and needs.

If you’ve had children, for example, you may wish to create a business to help new or expectant mothers adjust to parenting through well-being services such as mother and baby exercise classes and support workshops.

You understand the competition

Researching competitors so you can offer a better service or product is an essential step on the journey to start-up success.

It’s a good idea to research the current competitive market to determine whether any other businesses offer what you’re proposing and find out information such as:

  • pricing
  • location
  • customers
  • popularity
  • additional services or products they provide.

You may then need to consider how your products or services differ from theirs to decide on your business’s unique selling point (USP) – what advantage will your business have over the competition, and how is it different from existing products and services?

You have a persistent passion

If you have a long-term passion for running a business in a specific industry, for example, perhaps you have always wanted to help children with disabilities, and so you may decide to open a local centre that offers sensory play areas and therapy sessions — whatever your passion, if you find yourself constantly thinking about it then you may want to start drawing up a business plan.

You have a business plan

Starting a business without a business plan is much like setting off on a journey without a map to guide you.

It’s essential you draw up a business plan before you start your business as it can help you prepare for each step of your journey, helping you to:

Read our guide on how to set up realistic expectations as a start-up.

You have a marketing plan

Effective marketing can ensure that you constantly see a healthy amount of custom all year round.

Some marketing tactics that you might want to consider are:

You are able to take on the financial risk

Setting up your own business can pose a financial risk, so it’s a good idea to understand the risks involved thoroughly.

You may need to overcome unforeseen financial challenges that you didn’t initially account for, so ensure you have enough money to grow the business while still supporting yourself.

You have finances/funding for your start-up

According to data by CB Insights, 38% of new businesses fail because they run out of cash.

It’s essential to secure funding before you get started; you may be able to access funding from friends, family, personal savings, or angel investors.

Alternatively, you may be able to apply for a government-backed Start Up Loan of between £500 and £25,000 to help you get started.

You have the time and energy

Running your own business can take significant time and energy, particularly in the first few years, and it’s not uncommon for business owners to work long hours and weekends.

Ensure you factor in time to take on the challenge and be realistic about how much time you can commit and the impact of launching a new business may have in terms of your time.

You know how to set up your business

You will need to determine whether you will work as a sole trader, a limited company or a partnership and register your business with the HMRC.

You can multitask and manage your time

A business owner’s tasks encompass various roles – from bookkeeping to taking quality photos for marketing purposes.

Multitasking comes with the job description, so it’s important you take the time to gain knowledge and skills in the relevant categories.

It’s practical to make a list of your tasks and prioritise them in order of importance to avoid becoming overwhelmed.

You can handle the challenge

Although owning and running a business can be highly rewarding, it can invoke moments of stress that may take its toll on your mental health.

Protect yourself from burnout by ensuring you get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet, and schedule downtime in your routine.

Start Up Loans provides one year’s free mentoring to support, advise and motivate you through your journey.

Ready to start?

Starting your own business can be an exciting endeavour that could result in a long-term sense of achievement for you, both personally and professionally.

However, it’s imperative you are fully prepared for the task and that you understand everything that growing a business entails, as this can make the journey as smooth as possible and, ultimately, give your business the best chance of success.

Learn with Start Up Loans and help get your business off the ground

Thinking of starting a business? Check out our free online courses in partnership with the Open University on being an entrepreneur.

Our free Learn with Start Up Loans courses include:

Plus free courses on climate and sustainability, teamwork, entrepreneurship, mental health and wellbeing.

Reference to any organisation, business and event on this page does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation from the British Business Bank or the UK Government. Whilst we make reasonable efforts to keep the information on this page up to date, we do not guarantee or warrant (implied or otherwise) that it is current, accurate or complete. The information is intended for general information purposes only and does not take into account your personal situation, nor does it constitute legal, financial, tax or other professional advice. You should always consider whether the information is applicable to your particular circumstances and, where appropriate, seek professional or specialist advice or support.

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