How to make a dream become a reality

Setting up a business is tough and managing a small team to run it can be even tougher – but very rewarding.

You will have a dream, but the secret of success is to fire up the imagination of those around you, and that can be more difficult in a small set-up than managing a larger workforce where some of the dreaded administration and management functions are carried out by someone else.

The first step is recruitment. Research carried out by recruitment agencies suggests that past performance of a possible employee is not necessarily a guide to their future performance and it is sometimes better to make sure that some of the team members are recruited by you so that you can inspire them with your ideas and with direct involvement with the product.

Communication is key.  In a small company you will feel closer to the product and in touch with day-to-day events, but make sure everyone is up to speed with what is going on.   One benefit of a smaller company is that it is faster on its feet and there is nowhere for you, as the boss, or the other members of the team to hide.  Meetings can be quick and easy and always focused on your strategy, thereby getting everyone pulling in the same direction.

Be open with your small team and in the early stages be prepared to take a lead, Support everyone else, and dish out the praise when it is due.  It is quite common for the boss to be first in the office and last out at the end of the day, although research shows that some people put great store on work/life balance so don’t let your enthusiasm wear out your most willing workers.

Choosing the right customers is as important as choosing the right staff.  You may believe passionately in your product but the big single contract is not always the answer and enthusiasm will not pay the bills, so make sure you get a regular and objective view from a business adviser or accountant.

Martin Anson, director at Whitley Stimpson, the largest independent accountancy and business advice firm in the area, says: “The most important step in setting up a small business is to get the plan right and to set reasonable targets.  

“Running your own business is exciting and it can be fun – but it’s still business and anyone who thinks they have a good product to put on the market would do well to tap into our vast experience rather than be caught out at the first hurdle.”

Martin Anson can be contacted on 01295 270200 or via email on martina@whitleystimpson.co.uk