Starting your own business

Already got an idea but need a reason to go for it? From spotting a gap in the market to being your own boss, AXA reveals why you should ditch the 9 to 5.

Business Guardian Angel

6 December 2017

If you have a great idea and want to start your own business, there are plenty of reasons to do it.

Surveys repeatedly show that people are more satisfied when they’re their own boss, and yet only a relatively small number choose to forge that path. To find out what drives these professional pioneers, we surveyed hundreds of entrepreneurs* about their reasons for biting the bullet and starting their own businesses.

Who knows? Next year you could even be up for the Business Entrepreneur of the Year award at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards.

Follow your passion

You get to wake up every day and do something you love. Although there are bound to be a few frustrations along the way, your natural passion will make getting out of bed much easier, and you'll be driven to promote yourself too. An impressive 23% of our survey respondents said that their company began as a hobby before blossoming into a full business. Ensuring passion is at the heart of your business can help with everything from sales to publicity and staff motivation.

Wave goodbye to the commute

Most entrepreneurs start at their kitchen table. When you're the only member of staff there's no need for office space, so you can roll out of bed and get straight to work.

You can do it on the side (at first)

You can start your business during evenings and weekends without losing the financial security of your day job. Almost a quarter of the entrepreneurs we spoke to built up their client list while they were still working for someone else. Note that some companies do ask staff to disclose second jobs, so check the terms of your contract and speak to your boss first.

Learn new skills

When you're the only member of the team you'll need to wear a lot of hats. You'll need to master marketing to promote your business, sales to encourage suppliers to work with you, and accounting to get your tax return filled in properly.

Innovative thinking

Contrary to some media portrayals, it’s not just entrepreneurs working with new technologies or digital products who are motivated by innovation. Around 17% of small business owners from the professional, service, trade and retail sectors told us that they launched their business because they’d found a gap in the market, while 15% were inspired by an original idea.

You make the rules

If it's just you making the decisions, your only obligation is to your clients. As long as you deliver on time, the rest is up to you. If you want to spend more time with your kids, you can adjust your schedule to fit around them. If a project looks like it's going to be too much work for the reward, you can turn it down.

Diverse beginnings

Perhaps the most interesting finding from our research was that 29% of respondents cited their motivation for starting a business as ‘other’, making it the largest category of all – and a perfect reflection of the diversity of the UK’s small business brains.

Reasons cited ranged from the desire to be their own boss to redundancy from a previous position, which just goes to show that UK entrepreneurs can produce positive outcomes from even the most unexpected of circumstances.

Running a business is hard work, but we're here to help you at every step of the way. Visit our Business Guardian Angel site for more business tips and advice. For example, you could get up to £3,000 a year off your National Insurance bill if you’re an employer and Entrepreneurs’ Relief means you’ll pay tax at 10% on all gains on qualifying assets.

So, what was your inspiration to start your own business? Tell your story in the comments below.

*Based on a study of 800 business owners conducted by AXA Business Insurance in March 2016

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