If you’re a member of the Elite Investor club or a regular reader of my opinion pieces, you’ll know how passionate I am about helping you take control of your financial future. One of the many ways of doing this is by starting a business. The business itself might take a little while to get off the ground, but with passion, commitment and a bit of luck, there should come a time when its paying you back for all the hard work you’ve put in. Of course, it’s not just the day to day profits that you’ll get to benefit from as a business owner. The business itself is a nest egg and when you’re ready to move on to pastures new, you’ll be able to sell all or part of it and walk away with a tidy pile of cash to spend on holidays, designer handbags or whatever other luxurious fetish you might have.
Last week, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) witnessed two young men who did exactly that (I’m not talking about buying designer handbags). Their company – Snap Inc. floated on the stock exchange and, by close of trading, had a valuation of $28.3bn netting the founders a rather tasty $4bn each. Snapchat, the core product behind the company, was born in 2011 and allows users to take and send photos to each other with a pre-determined lifespan (in seconds) after which the photo self-destructs and can no longer be viewed by the recipient. For those less tech savvy amongst us, it’s a bit like the polaroid camera of my day but in reverse. Since its simplistic beginnings, the app has gone on to offer filters, video shorts, video glasses and a range of other innovative solutions to keep its user base engaged and wanting more. This has resulted in them successfully raising hundreds of millions of dollars through various rounds of funding, turning down a $3 billion buyout offer from Facebook’s Zuckerberg and now being touted by marketers, businesses and investors alike as a world-changing internet based product on a par with the likes of Google, Twitter and Facebook.
Of course, you might be thinking that such a story is irrelevant. After all, those folks are Silicon Valley people. They work to a different set of rules. They have different opportunities available to them. A different support system to nurture and fund the ideas of entrepreneurs and a different mentality to the rest of the business world. And in the past, you might have been right. But the UK has been catching up – and fast. London, Manchester, Birmingham and many other major UK cities now have rapidly growing entrepreneurial hubs churning out multi-million pound ventures seemingly every other day.
And you don’t need to be part of an entrepreneurial hub to experience start-up success. Google “free business training” and you’ll be inundated with events, mentors and a range of other free opportunities to help you understand how to start and grow your own successful business. Funding isn’t a problem either. In the old days, start-ups and small businesses were at the mercy of the banks’ erratic lending criteria. If your business plan wasn’t going to make the bank enough money, or they simply “didn’t like the cut of your jib”, they’d hastily show you the exit. But they’re not in charge anymore. A wealth of peer-to-peer lending websites provide easy access to low cost loans. Then there’s crowd funding, the Government’s Innovation Fund and don’t forget local authority small business grants. If you’re thinking you have to be the next “tech unicorn” to get funding and support, think again.
Soon we’ll have the fourth session of Money Mavens, the mastermind group I run with Siam Kidd and Andrew Craig. Virtually every member of the group is in the process of launching a business. And we’ve helped them with everything from naming their brainchild to transforming the effectiveness of their marketing. We’ve even helped them kill off some of their stranger ideas at the cheapest stage in the business life-cycle – the planning phase.
According to Daren Hardy, editor of Success Magazine, your chances of entrepreneurial success are 564 times greater than they were just 13 years ago. In short, there has never been a better time to start your own business in Britain. If you’re looking for a sign which says “now’s the time to start that business” – here it is. It’s time to seize the day. To take that idea that’s been swimming around in your head for weeks, months, maybe even years and turn it into a business plan that you can move forward. It might not be the most highly sophisticated or technical idea. It might not be destined for worldwide success or net you billions of dollars. But it is going to take you one step closer to being in control of your own financial future and that’s certainly not a bad thing.
So what’s stopping you?
Until next time.