Launching A New Business?
Advice from Suzanne Smith
Setting up a new business might not have been your “Plan A”. That’s 100% OK. Contrary to popular belief, not all business owners are born entrepreneurs. More often than not, sole traders evolve, taking the lessons they’ve learned from corporate life and using them to work independently. Coronavirus has been a game changer for many of us but maybe, just maybe, you’ve been using this time to develop a new interest or passion which could grow in to a source of income? This interest might yet prove to be a valuable investment in yourself and your future as it evolves in to a business idea.
That’s certainly true for me. Five years ago, I was a corporate management accountant in a company which was heading in to an age of uncertainty. Now I’m a successful therapist and coach helping people recover from Chronic Fatigue. Yes, my business was borne from my interest but it’s supported by good business planning and the skills I learned at work. It CAN be done.
Before you rush in to starting your business, it’s a good idea to seek help and advice from as many people and places as you can. Information is power and you need to power up!
3 Top Tips
1) Seek support from your local and regional advisors. Advisors are available through free, government-funded Growth Hubs for social enterprise.
I worked with a fantastic coach from the Growth Hub. Not only did he help me formulate my plan, he was able to signpost me to lots of different resources, courses, networking and large organisations.
2) Conduct in-depth research: Who is doing what you are thinking of or something similar? Arrange a chat with them to, pick their brains and get information.
I found 3 Accredited Practitioners, told them I was thinking of undertaking the training and asked for their honest feedback. Their information helped me to make a decision to go down a more niche route so I could target my activities and marketing.
3) Find a 100% supporter, someone outside of you family to whom you can freely speak about your business and know that they will give you an honest response.
I have a friend who is also a sole trader who has been running her own business for 14 years. I really value her perspective and feedback. She helped me to keep my feet on the ground as well as take stock and celebrate how far I have come over the past 4 years.
One moment I was on top of a mountain: in full health, a successful management accountant, a wife and mum of teens skiing in style in the French Alps. The next moment I had slipped on ice, crashed and torn the ligaments in my knee. Back at home and house-bound, even simple stuff like going to the loo and going to the shower were complex operations so that I didn’t jostle it and bump it and make it sore. At the same time, whilst I was off work, there was a re-shuffle and change in values as the company prepared to outsource to Lithuania. I went back to work but all of the productive work relationships that we’d had before were broken up and it was clear that more disruption was on the way… Everything was changing and the future looked uncertain. I really didn’t enjoy working anymore.
I took the plunge and left my corporate Management Accountancy job. For a few months, I didn’t know what to do and I dwelt on the loss of really important work relationships and the loss of a good income. My initial thought was to get a similar job in accountancy but my heart wasn’t really in it.
In my spare time I had been reading about Health Kinesiology and I knew that it was a therapy that had a great deal of potential. I did a lot of learning that first 12 months, completing five training courses in order to become a member of the FHT the Federation of Holistic Therapists. I learned more in that year than I had in 18 years of being a Management Accountant and I loved every minute of it.
The next thing was finding a community at the Silver-web Centre in Clay Cross and getting a therapy room. Here was a group of like-minded people talking about therapy and working with people energetically. I too was passionate about therapy and energy and I decided to specialise in working with people living with fatigue problems. Finding the Chrysalis Effect online also gave me a bigger toolkit because of the coaching qualification. It’s a way of working that feels really in-line with clients who want to understand themselves, who want to work it out for themselves and need support along the way.
Since starting my business four years ago, I am now in a position to look back on the progress of my business and the journeys of my clients. My business is viable because the therapy I offer gets proven results. I can now say that working with me for 18-24 sessions WILL help a client suffering with Chronic Fatigue to reach a point where they are well enough to move forward. I currently offer sessions on-line via Zoom and I’m fully accessible to clients.
Contact Suzanne at http://www.reconnectingyou.co.uk