Start Your Own Business - A Good Idea?

Start Your Own Business - A Good Idea?

Start Your Own Business - a Good Idea?  

This is the time of year when a lot of people take on the challenge of a Start Your Own Business Course.  Ran over 6, 8 or 10 weeks, these courses are usually run by the various County and City Enterprise Boards  (CEB’s) around the country.  Indeed, at Innovo we currently and have previously worked with a number of CEB’s to develop and deliver these programmes.

Other enterprise support groups run SYOB courses also, including some of the Area and LEADER Partnerships, but the CEB’s are still the main port of call for this type of endeavour.

When considering taking one of these courses, there are a number of things you should think about:

1.    Is the courses accredited – some programmes offer a FETAC level 5 or 6 qualification
2.    Can you commit the time to attending class each week for 6, 8 or 10 weeks for at least 3 hours per class
3.    Are you really interested in starting a business and becoming an entrepreneur?

The final question in the context of a Start Your Own Business programme is probably the most relevant.  While a number of people will attend a Start Your Own Business programme to ‘test the water’, ‘see what it’s like’ and ‘accumulate more knowledge’, it is the people who are most motivated to actually start a business (or at a minimum do some market research on a chosen idea and subsequently write a business plan) who will get the most out of it.  

This is not to say that you have know you want to start a business when you come on the course, but it helps to at least have thought about it in detail and to have considered what type of business you would start?  This is often a key conundrum for people attending courses like these – how do I come up with a good idea to start my own business (more about this anon)?  Some actually come onto the course looking for inspiration, which of course is totally understandable and actively encouraged in some instances.

While on a Start Your Own Business course you will inevitably engage in topics such as legal structures, tax, business planning, marketing, sales and cash slow forecasting.  These are all vital topics to understand when starting  a business in Ireland. However, the level and extent to which you retain and apply the information is mainly a function of how skilled, interested, knowledgeable and experienced the trainer(s)/ facilitator(s) of the course are and how they relate the content to you and bring it to life.

At Innovo, we rely heavily on the practical application of the various theory concepts i.e. how cash flow, tax, marketing and sales apply to the everyday working of your business. We bring the theoretical concepts to life by contextualising them through real life examples from our own experience as start-up entrepreneurs at Innovo Training and Development and Titan Marketing.  This I believe is vital for the delivery and retention of Start Your Own Business material.

However, what’s often overlooked on Start Your Own Business courses is a focus on how to come up with the killer business idea – mastery of the technical aspects of running a business is fine, but you need to have a good idea first to put this mastery into action!  This is where a lot of Start Your Own Business courses fall down.  In fact, it’s where our national enterprise policy falls down.   While there is no doubt that there has been a major improvement in same over the past number of years as policy makers realise that enterprise is an essential part of the jigsaw to solving our economic woes, a focus on training and educating people on where and how to come up with a good business idea is virtually overlooked.  

The entrepreneurship theory would say that this needs to come from within, from the individual themselves based on their experiences, observations and knowledge to spot a ‘gap in the market’.   However, from our vast experience in the enterprise space, sometimes people who you know would make good entrepreneurs, struggle to come up with good ideas.  They often need help and assistance to unlock their creative, problem solving and innovation potential.  Thus, this type of endeavour as part of a Start Your Own Business course (before delving into more technical fields) can deliver huge dividends.  

Even a simple facilitated exercise like giving people the opportunity to do some group brainstorming in a supportive environment can help them think and act more creatively.  Unfortunately this type of activity is not covered in a typical Start Your Own Business course.  This is sometimes due to the inability (and the lack of knowledge of the key concepts) of the trainer to facilitate such content.   It’s also not part of our national enterprise policy despite our firm focus on becoming an innovation and enterprise hub – you can’t have one without the other unfortunately – we need good ideas to start good businesses!

If you are interested in hearing more about the various Start Your Own Business courses being ran across the country, please contact your local County or City Enterprise Board or Innovo Training and Development .