Common Barriers to Self-Employment
As an Enterprise Coach, my role is to help unblock barriers to successful self-employment. So what are the common barriers and how can some of them be tackled? We tend to find that finance is usually high on the list, and start-up costs are seen as the brick wall that cannot be negotiated round, or climbed over to reach the tranquillity of successful enterprise. But is this the only issue?
Money, how much do you need and what would you spend it on? Is it equipment, leaflets, business cards or raw materials all you need to get going? Without this you just can’t go self-employed so will have to continue in your current journey and hope that a government initiative finally gives you the opportunity you’ve been waiting for?
What equipment do you need? What equipment do you have and can it help to get you started? Would that help to bring some income in and be used to buy the brand new, upgraded machine you’ve always wanted? If so, what’s really stopping you? I suppose by now you are sick of all these questions, but you will find yourself having to ask yourself these at some point in your enterprising journey.
Is price really the difference between you and your competitor? And, how have you decided on pricing? Will people really buy from you because you are the cheapest in town? Some of these questions will really help to make you think about how everything will work in reality, and beyond finance will focus on your role in making it work.
Once you’ve decided on pricing, you will have an idea of profits and margins. How much money do you need to survive on and is there enough profit once you’ve paid your expenses? This will help you to plan for the future, and understand whether this is really a full or part time venture, or even a hobby business. It will also help you to decide whether it will last beyond the crucial first year in business, and possibly re-adjust the amount of money you might need in the first place.
The focus of an Enterprise Coach is to really dig deep into the conversation and look at what the real barriers are. Lets say you’re one of the lucky ones who is eligible for a grant. Once you’ve got it, what next? You’ve spent the money on equipment, got your leaflets and business cards printed and are ready to go. So now where do you go? Have you thought about who would buy from you and where they are located? If you have thought of this, you will be spending your time more effectively promoting your services in a planned and managed way. The opposite of this is the sporadic approach, whereby you target everyone, and jump from one method to another without much thought or consideration. One minute you are out leaflet dropping, the next an advert goes into the local paper and you also decide to spend money putting yourself in every directory listing that was ever made. Then you sit down and wait for the phone to ring, but it never does. At that point, you pick the phone up and ask for help, but its never to late to speak to an Enterprise Coach.
If it helps, you’re not alone, we find that many new businesses have a tendency to undervalue their offer to get a foot in the marketplace. Is there an opportunity to add value to your offer with additional information, advice and guidance that will get you noticed above the competition? Does your offer express the primary benefit to your customers? Are you just copying what your competitors are doing and not really thinking beyond that? If so, do you need to think long and hard about how you can find ways to entice customers to buy from you? If you spend time understanding their needs, talking to them and finding out what they need from you could be a good start. It may also provide you with an opportunity to tailor your products and services specifically for them in a way that might command a higher price premium.
Personal barriers such as a lack of understanding, skills and experience also play an important part, so it is important to recognise you are your business and you are the one that will have to make it work.
Do you have the right skills, knowledge, experience and desire to make it work? Do you want to start a business that will make you money but have no experience or desire other than the end result? Are you setting yourself up for failure? It is very easy to look at the goal of endless wealth, flashy cars and freedom, but if you haven’t thought about the journey to get you there, and the role that you will play then you maybe missing a fundamental piece of the jigsaw.
Are some of these key skills missing and really preventing you from making that ‘leap of faith’? Self-employment can provide a great opportunity to work for yourself, make decisions and give you the freedom to reach your potential. If it is something you are considering, then spending time with an Enterprise Coach can really help to open up doors, and work through some of the key questions that eventually you will have to ask yourself.
Enterprise Coach – Keighley