We’re all determined to be positive but it would be unrealistic not to recognise that things are tough and that the road to global recovery depends on the speed at which vaccines to control covid-19 are rolled out. The effects of the pandemic are likely to be long-lasting with UK public borrowing expected to result in a deficit of about £164bn year ending March 2022. Meanwhile many businesses, including some ‘big names’, have been forced to close and others are under severe pressure with correspondingly high unemployment rates.
Against this dismal background we’re witnessing some amazing start-ups. Often with more time on their hands than usual – home-based working has the advantage of saving time normally taken up by commuting – people with an entrepreneurial mind-set are setting up new businesses at a mind-blowing rate. What has been termed the ‘Covid Economy’ is resulting in new growth in medical goods, disinfecting services, workwear and protective clothing, cleaning preparation and cleaning services, research in biotechnology, retail – and much, much more.
Many new enterprises result from recognition of an existing gap in the market while others relate to a long held dream of setting up business in a particular field. Quite a few new businesses are based on a favourite recreation or hobby – which isn’t as dilettante as it may sound because having first-hand experience of boons, blessings and setbacks is a wonderful foundation for any business.
Being one’s own boss is something that is very attractive to a huge percentage of Brits. Research undertaken by Startups.co.uk revealed that a new business was founded every day in April 2020 – a staggering 60% increase on April 2019. A lot of new setups start life as sole trader and of the UK’s 2.02 million corporate businesses, getting on for 50% are limited companies with a single employee. At the same time it is worth recognising that some of the world’s largest and most successful companies – including household names – such as General Motors, FedEx and Burger King – were founded during recessions. Microsoft was set up by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in 1975 just one month after the 70s recession ended. Today Bill Gates is said to be the second wealthiest man in the world – £80.3 billion ($98 billion). J.K. Rowling (one of the UK’s wealthiest private citizens) used her then untried talents to set up as a writer when, newly divorced, money was very, very tight. The very popular Harry Potter series (credited with getting thousands and thousands of children worldwide reading hard copy books!) were adapted for the big screen to the delight of audiences of all ages.
Many business enterprises begin life ‘on-the-kitchen-table’ or ‘out-in-the garden shed’. Generally entrepreneurs share similar qualities and abilities. They are creative and can think outside the box. They are prepared to take risks – but that is teamed with realism. They are persistent, determined and passionate. Their work ethic is very strong. They communicate well and are prepared and willing to seek professional advice.
The right advice can make the difference between success and failure. A trusted mentor to whom to chat in confidence. An accountant to help create a sound financial structure and offer guidance about securing any available start-up finance packages. A lawyer to ensure IP is protected, make certain the business structure complies with laws, licensing requirements, et cetera.