For those starting their careers today, very few would expect to spend their working career in one company. These days it’s standard practice to move between firms every couple of years, for all sorts of reasons - more money, better prospects, change of location, dissatisfaction with a current employer are common motivations. But moves are often within the same industry; a complete change of career can still be viewed as a risky move.
In the current decade, there’s good evidence that this is changing. Many workers who followed a typical path into corporate life, often via university, are now exchanging the straitjacket of a large company for the flexibility of running their own business. Reasons for the shift away from a corporate career include the erosion of benefits such as final salary pension schemes and the reduction of job-security. Frequent restructuring and cost-cutting exercises are common in most sectors. Even the financial services sector, which accounts for 3.2% of UK jobs (source: ONS), has flatlined and now accounts for its smallest proportion of UK jobs since 1980.
There’s evidence that employees are ditching corporate life to start up their own businesses. Private sector businesses have increased in number by 63% since 2000 to 5.7 million. Most of these businesses are started and run by a sole proprietor or founder - in fact, 75% don’t employ anyone other than the owner (source: DBEIS 2018 Statistical Release).
This seems to make sense. If you’ve decided to turn your back on a career in the corporate sector after many years, why move to a large firm in a different sector in which you have limited knowledge and expertise? Better to change tack entirely and follow your passion.
So if you’ve you decided to make the leap to start your new business, what should be your first step? If you’ve taken the time to Google, you’ll have found that’s there is a sea of information out there on starting a new business. Before spending hours wading through this, it’s worth taking a few moments to consider your reasons and motivation supporting your startup business, including:
A particular skill or passion that you want to pursue as part of your new business.
Your level of general business knowledge (for example accounting, tax, company set-up, marketing).
The amount of flexibility that you want in your new career.
Your goals for the new business, including what income it needs to generate to support your lifestyle.
Once you’ve worked out the answer to these points you should be in a position to move forward with your startup. Online research is a good place to start. Along the way, you may identify advisors who can provide expertise and help in the areas that you are less sure about.
One final piece of advice - don’t dive into commissioning an expensive website before you nailed pretty much every other aspect of your business, including the business plan, marketing plan, financials and operational setup. We’ve seen too many startups that have spent thousands of pounds on beautiful website designs, only to realise that they don’t actually reflect the essence of their new business.