GET AHEAD How to quit your job and start your own business
"The trick is to get capital from private individuals" ... Rohan Gamble. Photo: Ben Rushton
When should I take the plunge? If you don't want to die wondering, you have to try it. But you must have a clear vision and be able to intimately visualise the business you want to create. Starting a business is 24/7 and you need so much focus that you can't do it part-time. It's better to have a clean break - finish your job and then start the business.
How important is a clear business plan? First lock yourself away in your bedroom and write a business plan. The more thinking you do upfront, the easier it will be to implement it. Once you start a business the stress of the daily cash flow tends to take away the creative part of your brain.
You need to go to the end-point and work backwards, visualise what the business is going to be in five or 10 years, and articulate that, firstly in words for the business plan and then speaking to people. If you can't do that, you won't be able to hire staff and you won't attract investors.
Where can I find help? The best advice is from people who have done it and gone solo. Anyone on the fringe, like a professional adviser, might be useful, but they haven't done it.
One of the real skills of an entrepreneur, particularly in the early days, is recognising what you're good at and where you need help. Take people you respect in their fields to lunch and ask for their opinions, and get some free advice.
If you are thinking about going alone next year, it's smart to set up that network now. Expand your LinkedIn profile, meet people for coffee without an agenda. You never know where the answers will come from.
Where can I get funding? I wouldn't go to either banks or venture capitalists in the early days. The trick is to get capital from private individuals. You need to keep control of the business because you're the only one who's got the vision. It's all about getting money from yourself, from family or friends, from private investors.
When should you cut your losses? As a broad rule, in any business you should be able to see some genuine runs on the board within a year of starting.
Interview by Miriam Steffens