Why? As an employee, your salary will not only cease to grow as the economy gets smaller, but the government will in future demand an increasing portion from your income to finance prodigal spending. So, not only will there be no prospects for you in terms of career and salary improvement, but you may actually be left jobless. I know that this is not the time to be gloomy, but I owe it to you to be frank. Traditional career prospects will be limited.
There are three reasons why you should start your own business.
- your rewards will be directly related to your efforts
- your future will be under your control
- a business owner, as opposed to a salaried employee, has more scope for creativity in tax planning.
Having suggested that you go into business, I must admit that it isn’t the ideal for every person. Look at the three reasons that I’ve given for starting a business, and be honest with yourself.
Firstly, are you prepared to start working? While a business owner may reap all the benefits of his own efforts and have no limits placed on him, he really has to work. I mean work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Even if you do manage to squeeze a few days away, nothing but your business will occupy your mind. In fact, you have to be unbalanced, thinking only of your business and not sport, social activities or even family commitments. This is very demanding, probably affecting both your family life and your sex life. So, if you think you’re working hard now, think again. Another factor to consider is that you’ll be on your own, with no colleagues to share the blame if things go wrong. Have I mentioned risk? You alone will bear the full burden of risk. Major mistakes will cost you more than your job – you could lose all your personal assets.
Secondly, you have to believe that your future is under your control. In other words, you must believe that most of what happens to you can be determined by yourself. This is, of course, not typically South African. The majority of South Africans believe that either the government, society or even the weather are to blame for their lot in life. But people who succeed in business believe that they, and no one else, control their lives.
Lastly, business owners have more opportunity to arrange their affairs in a way that will minimise the amount of tax that they have to pay. While everyone may be equal before the (tax) law, the reality is that people who own their own businesses work the system in ways that are impossible for salaried employees. What else? In addition to being willing to work your guts out, having the balls to accept risk, and being internally controlled person, you need three other ingredients. Here they are, in order of importance:
- A knowledge of the market. This means you know who the customers are, what they buy and why they buy. You also need to know what prices are paid by customers and to suppliers.
- Relevant management skills. Management skills are not necessarily transferable. Your experience as a bank manager will not be relevant when it comes to running a restaurant.
- Resources such as money, skilled labour (if required) and suitable premises. While one can learn skills and borrow money, it takes time to get to know how a market works. This is why a lot of people who start businesses resign their jobs but continue in the same line of work for themselves.
Is this for you? While I recommend it, I urge you to seek advice before jumping in at the deep end. Your local university or bank will have a small business unit that will help you with information. Good Luck!