The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), show that the total number of businesses registered within the UK as of March 2022 was 4,894,356, an increase of 3.8% when compared with the end of March 2021.
However during that same time period 581,824 filed for dissolution proving that starting a business is often a lot easier than running one; at least when you don’t have the correct skillset.
To help out budding entrepreneurs, in the age of the side hustle, Caunce O’Hara, the specialist insurance broker for freelancers and small businesses, reveal their Top Tips for success and how to thrive despite volatile market conditions & have shared their ‘Entrepreneur’s toolkit’ collating the skills necessary to start, run and grow your own business according to different business owners.
Their ‘Entrepreneur’s toolkit’ can be broken down into three sections; skills required to start, run and grow a business.
Skills To Start A Business
While technically anyone can start a business, so long as they meet some basic requirements such as being at least 18 years of age, according to those who have launched successful businesses there are a number of skills that can come in handy even at this early stage.
Financial literacy and leadership qualities are both highlighted within Caunce O’Hara’s toolkit, however according to Marc Churchouse, CEO of the Mercator Group two skills that are essential to starting a business is the ability to forward plan and self learn.
Marc explains: “Forward planning is essential when starting a business. You need to make your processes as robust and scalable as possible because when you get to the point of needing them in their entirety you will be time poor. It’s not possible to predict every eventuality but if you can standardise your back-office processes as much as possible it will stand you in good stead.”
He goes on to say it’s important for people planning to start a business to take on as much information as they can in the early days and to surround themselves with good advisors – especially those who have already lived the journey. That way you can pick and choose what lessons you want to apply to your own journey.
Skills To Run A Business
Once your business is up and running, in order to keep it that way Caunce O’Hara suggests you invest in learning to delegate, which will free up your time for the most important tasks and perfecting your customer relationships.
Many businesses live and die by their reputation which is often built solely off the back of your relationships with clients, customers and especially employees.
Philip Bacon, of Bacon Marketing, also advises investing in a good time management tool to help you stay on top of your workload and effectively manage your to do list. Philip adds: “We use two-time management tools, ClickUp to manage our projects and activities, including project specific communications, then Clockify to track time being spent, to make sure clients are billed correctly.”
Caunce O’Hara also believes that a key skill to running a successful business is being able to strike a good work life balance, a sentiment echoed by Tom and Sian of Chatsworth Bakehouse, who say: “Your typical 9-5 allows for clearly defined work dedicated hours. If you’re doing something you love, it’s yours – there’s a tendency to have zero boundaries with your personal versus work time. Running your own business means being fully responsible for the day to day as well as the back end. It’s all consuming but brilliant.”
As part of their research Caunce O’Hara asked 200 self-employed people what their typical working day looks like in order to showcase what a perfect work life balance looks like to different people. The insurance broker then plotted the working days of respondents across 11 industries into a data visualisation which can be viewed here.
Skills To Grow A Business
Strong marketing skills and the ability to adapt to the unpredictable, like a global pandemic, were high among the skills business owners felt were important for sustaining growth of a business.
However Richard Osborne, of UK Business Forums, argues that more important than any of that is the ability to accept risk. As the saying goes, ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’, and Richard believes that failure is never truly failure as long as you can learn from it.
He says: “Never be afraid of something not working out. If you do, you will just tie yourself up in that. You have got to pick a path, and a route to take, and just start. If you get halfway through and don’t get the results you are after, you step back, take a look at why it didn’t work, and then start again by taking a different path. At the end of that project, ask yourself if you got the outcomes you wanted. If not, what lessons can you learn when you try again? That isn’t failure. That is moving forwards and making progress.”
And the most important skill according to Caunce O’Hara? Patience.
Running a business is a journey not a destination and if you rush growth, you might fail to establish the solid foundations you need to help you to flourish in the long term.