Want to start your own business? Founder of Innocent Drinks Richard Reed explains how it pays to be prepared when starting out a new venture.
Start working on your plan
“Turning what you love into a career can be a series of small steps, not a massive leap into the unknown. While you’ve still got your regular job, spend some of your evenings, as well as time on the weekends working on your plan. It’s a bit like being a student – you’ve got to revise and prepare.”
Learn how to make the most of your spare time
“A fair amount of time passed from the day me, Adam and John (Innocent co-founders) came up with our idea, to when we actually handed in our notice. We used our spare time to work on our business plan, and make samples to sell at market stalls. We researched the shops we thought would be interested in our product, and tried and tested as much as we could to give us confidence.”
It helps to be cheeky
“Did I always want to come home from a hard day’s work and launch myself into my plan? Of course not. There were three ways I approached it. Sometimes I just had to get on with it. Sometimes I did decide to watch TV – I’m only human. But did I sometimes work on my own stuff during my regular job, when my boss wasn’t looking? You bet.
“You have to keep within the spirit of things, and certainly never be immoral, but it helps to start thinking creatively about how to get things done.”
Keep your home out of the equation
“I would strongly advise to any aspiring entrepreneurs, who are also homeowners: don’t gamble your home. Start squirrelling away as much savings as possible so you’re not at risk of losing your home in the process. And on that note, I would advise against using your home as the guarantee for the debt to start a business, it’s too risky.”
Enjoy the benefits of doing what you love for a living
“Doing what you love provides a better quality of life, helps you take control, and attracts like-minded people.
“I’m not for one second guaranteeing that setting up your own business will go smoothly, or that you should approach a career change without a clear direction. However, with proper planning the upsides of giving it a go are infinite – you gain all that learning and experience.”