Like it or not, we all need to earn money to live, unless we’ve inherited it or won it! Money doesn’t make us happy, but it gives us CHOICE – it helps determine where we can live, the type of property we can live in, the holidays we take, the food we eat, the car we drive etc etc. Money itself, doesn’t make us “rich” as the really rich people have a balance between money and time for themselves, family, friends, and holidays. Above everything, our health is the most important of all, as without our health, we cannot work effectively or earn enough money to do all the things we really like or love.
When choosing a career or owning a business, it’s important to try and get the balance right, between “working all hours” and having some time for relaxation, keeping fit, hobbies and holidays. Business owners often fall into the trap of working long hours for little reward and become “too old to work and too poor to retire”.
And “if you don’t make time for your Wellness, you will need to find time for your Illness”.
Most people spend more time at work than at home. At least choose a job or a business that you enjoy doing. Many people hate their jobs, dread going to work after the weekend or their holiday, so find something that you enjoy doing.
The ultimate is to do something you love doing – and get paid for it!
So what are the some of the main options for your career or becoming involved with owning and running a business?
Stay with your current job or career: if you are happy and love what you are doing fine! If not, seek the changes that would make it worthwhile staying or consider the alternatives:
Become self-employed: Many people find a niche that “works for them” giving them a lifestyle that suits well. The question is what to do that’s relatively low risk, as far as cash is concerned and easy to manage without all the systems and documentation required by larger trading businesses or companies? Finding something that people need, ideally with repeat business, cash up front or upon receipt of invoice. How easily can you cover your basic cost of living?
Work for someone else as an employee: Basically “a job” working for an existing business but without much job security as people get made redundant and “last in, first to go”. The preferred choice for most people as they don’t need to worry about being paid at the end of the month. The best businesses will be well run with respected leaders or owner/managers, operating and growing in niche markets, not reliant on any one customer, repeat business, consistent growth, look after their staff with regular training, flexible working hours, pension contributions, salary/job reviews, career development, company cars, staff canteens, gym passes etc. Finding the right employer is essential as they range from appalling to exceptional.
Set up your own business: the greatest risk but the greatest rewards if you get it right. Most business start-ups require lots of cash and many don’t survive after two or three years. You must be passionate and confident to set up a business from scratch with a well thought-out plan. You must understand your target market, know how to sell, promote your business, deal with accounts, customers, suppliers, staff, banks, shareholders, legal aspects etc.
Buy a business: Buying a business is more often than not, an attractive proposition compared to building an organisation from scratch. There is much less risk, especially if staff, equipment, suppliers and customers are all in place, giving you the opportunity to enjoy the benefits and rewards of business ownership from day one. An understanding of business is essential as you are “hitting the road running” and you’ll be expected to know how to run and develop the business without becoming insolvent, whilst complying with all the H & S regulations and employment/company laws.
Management Buy-Out (MBO): If you are already employed, you might be lucky enough to have the opportunity to actually “buy out” the present owner(s), either by yourself or as part of an existing management team. From the perspective of the owner, a buyer has instantly been found and confidentiality can easily be contained in-house, which is a great starting point. The balance of power can be transferred steadily, and the business can continue with minimum disruption with people like yourself, who are more likely to care about the history and who can be trusted in maintaining the legacy of the current and previous owners. The risk involved in a relationship change can therefore be minimised, so long as you have the appetite, ambition and leadership capability to grow the business, with of course, access to funding.
Buy a franchise: Usually a business model that’s been proven to work, with all the training, marketing, sales aids, documentation etc all provided. Relatively low risk venture but depends on how much the franchise costs and the terms of business. Worthwhile considering if the terms are reasonable and you have the basic skills to do what the franchiser expects you to do. Franchises are normally granted for a certain area, eg town, city or county to avoid competing with people with the same franchise. You operate as a “Franchisee” and it may be possible to sell on the Franchise if you want to give it up. You must understand that these are usually governed by comprehensive legal agreements as to what you can and can’t do and therefore, legal advice would be essential before making a decision.
Questions to ask yourself
- Do you see yourself as being Self Employed, an Employee, Manager, Business Owner/Leader?
- Would you prefer to run your own business or work for someone else?
- Would you prefer to stay where you are now or do something completely different?
- Have you considered all the ways to gain access for funding?
Are you a Leader, Manager or Follower?
There are a number of factors that will help determine the type of work that you could do realistically which include:
- Your type of personality (check out DISK profiling)
- Your education, skill sets and qualifications
- Your main ambitions “to do whatever it takes”
“Some people Lead and others Follow!”
Leadership is figuring out the right things to do whilst Management is doing those things right. Both Leaders and Manager are vital for a successful business but Leaders must be capable of leading and Managers capable of managing.
“People follow leaders because they want to. They follow managers because they are told to.”
To become a Leader within a business, you must be able to:
- Communicate clearly as a top priority
- Be able to provide inspiration
- Be open to constructive criticism
- Have the ability to listen to people’s problems and concerns
- Be prepared to ask questions to understand what’s actually going on
- To retain a good positive attitude & sense of humour
- Be seen to be reliable, honest and trustworthy
- Be intuitive to potential problems
- Be able to delegate rather than abdicate your responsibilities
- Develop a clear Vision on where the business needs to go and how to get there
- Have the ability to involve team members in the planning process
- Have an understanding of how to develop a positive Culture
- Have the ability to boost morale, discovering what makes people happy & motivated
- To delegate, trust, empower staff and to ask for help when required
- Show empathy, provide assistance and mentorship
- Pass over any credit over to others but take personal responsibility for failures
To become a Manager within an organisation, you must be able to:
- Be highly organised, efficient and set the standards required
- Be able to prioritise important tasks with great time management
- Communicate with team members
- Identify potential problems
- Provide good attention to detail
- Provide feedback, resolve issues, confusion & conflicts
- Help enforce rules and processes that are in existence
- Perform daily tasks such as making sure employees are turning up, doing their jobs and accomplishing objectives
- Understand the training needs of employees
- Delegate tasks and trust your staff
To become a Team Leader and to help run a team successfully, you must be able to:
- Provide strong leadership
- Set common goals
- Set “the rules of the game”
- Develop and implement Action Plans
- Accept risk
- Provide 100% involvement
Question to ask yourself
- Would you rather do: become a Leader or a Manager, or would you prefer to take inspiration from a Leader or just be told what to do by a Manager?
Where to start for a new job or career
If you decide to start looking for a new job or career, then the starting point is to update your CV, making sure that you have all your contact details up to date, that the CV is free from errors and is well laid out and presented.
The CV should include the following:
- Your full name and basic contact details i.e. your email address and contact number (you don’t have to put in your address).
- An outline description of you, as a person, highlighting your main business/job experience and skills, and what you are looking for in the future.
- A quote from a previous employer describing you as a person.
- An outline of what jobs you have done over the years (Professional Chronology)
- An outline of your main achievements.
- A list of appointments, training, qualifications and memberships
Make sure that you have appropriate references in place – if necessary, ask previous employers if they can provide you with a testimonial and/or a reference. Find someone (preferably in business) who can provide you with a personal reference if required. You may wish to consider additional training and qualifications to add to your CV if you wish to change your job or career completely. Once you have your CV updated and in place, you are ready to look at ways of finding the right job or career path, assuming you have the right qualifications for what you want to do.
Consider placing your own profile on LinkedIn as anyone who is involved in business usually has a profile on LinkedIn. Your profile can include basic contact information, you can write articles and you build up a network with people who would be interested in your products or services. You can also search for job opportunities.
Look at differing ways to find opportunities:
- Registering with Agencies
- Placing your profile on LinkedIn
- Networking with friends and other contacts
- Searching the internet, including LinkedIn
Consider setting up your own business, buying a business or buying a franchise, if you would rather not be employed by someone else.
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