The New Year is in full swing, and many of us will be having a period of evaluation. It is the perfect time to think about what we have, what we need, and what we want to change. That may be why many of us consider January as a time to re-think our career options and try something new.
I was interested to see a recent study by UK Power, which revealed that a quarter of adults are unhappy in their current job and one in five are dissatisfied with their career as a whole. These are shocking, but not altogether surprising, statistics. It is a common trend that people lose sleep thinking about work and even dread Mondays.
For those who are feeling stuck in a rut, or that their mental health would improve with a new challenge, now might just be the perfect time to consider a new career path. For some, this might be brushing the dust off their CV and joining an existing company, and for others it might be harnessing some entrepreneurial spirit and starting their own business. Going out on your own can be scary, however it can be a breath of fresh air for those who dream of being their own boss.
Starting your own business from scratch can be costly. According to my own research, the average cost of a start-up is £93,800, making it difficult for many people to even begin. This sum is accumulated over time and is not ‘day one’ capital, however, you are still going to need a significant sum to start off with. You also need to consider that start-up companies have no proven track record, making them a risky investment for banks and other investors. According to the Office of National Statistics, more than 58% of start-ups fail within the first five years, which can be incredibly off-putting if you’re investing your life savings or borrowing against assets.
An alternative for those with entrepreneurial dreams is buying an existing business, one that is established and trading. This can be an excellent choice for someone with little experience in starting a business from scratch, as they often come with all the fixtures and fittings included, as well as an existing customer base. This can be a welcome safety net, as there is little requirement to do work ‘behind the scenes’ when preparing to launch. Many businesses for sale are just about ready to go from day one.
It is sensible, however, to think about any qualifications or training you need to make your business a success. You may harbour dreams of running a garage, but if you don’t know your cam belts from your fan belts, you won’t get very far. If you’re considering a business in catering or food services, you will need to have any food hygiene certificates in place before you open and a licence to run a pub. In terms of the day-to-day running of the business itself, some previous owners are willing to stay on to train up the person they sell to, ensuring their beloved business is moving in to safe hands and helping the new proprietor to settle in.
If you already own a business, and are suffering from the New Year career blues, now may also be a great time to consider selling your business, looking for a new challenge, or, if you can afford to, taking some time out to consider your options. Those budding entrepreneurs looking to get out of the rat race won’t find the business of their dreams if no one is selling, so it is certainly a good time to put the wheels in motion if you’re thinking of moving on.
Whatever your New Year’s resolutions are, we should all aim to live our happiest lives. When a quarter of us are dreading getting to the office each morning, isn’t now the time to make the move to your dream career?
Gareth Smyth is group managing director of Hilton Smythe