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Six tips for starting your own business - accountants turned entrepreneurs

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The financial knowledge and skills you pick up in your accountancy study can be a great springboard for starting your own business. And thanks to our innovative ACCA-X online study programme, you can even fit your accountancy training around your business.

If you’ve got entrepreneurial ambitions, here are some tips to help you get started.

1.    Be prepared for hard work – lots of it

Forget your social life. In the early days at least, you’ll need to devote pretty much all your time and energy to the business. The pay-off, though, is that if things go to plan, nothing beats the rewards and satisfaction of creating a successful business from scratch.

2.    Plan your route to success

Draw up a solid business plan. Make sure it includes goals that are SMART: specific, measurable, appropriate, realistic and timely. It doesn't guarantee you success, but it makes it more likely. It can give you a benchmark to measure your performance against and helps to keep your focused.

3.    Cash is king

As an accountant, cash flow and financial forecasting should be one of your strong points. But you can’t be complacent. The corporate graveyard is full of businesses that took their eye of the finances. So keep your forecasts up to date – and use them to guide your strategy. Having up-to-date figures at your fingertips makes it easier to spot problems and react promptly.

4.    Get comfortable with risk

Entrepreneurs must be prepared to take measured risks. This doesn’t mean throwing your accounting and finance training down the drain, but you need to get used to the idea of taking a few chances – and learning from the outcomes, good or bad. After all, one of the best ways to succeed is to learn from your mistakes and move on. Colonel Sanders, the iconic founder of KFC, was a failed lamp manufacturer before hitting on his fried chicken secret recipe.

5.    New isn’t necessarily better

‘New’ business doesn’t necessarily mean ‘new’ idea. Some of the most successful businesses simply take an existing idea and do it better. Just look at Apple. They didn’t invent the personal computer or the MP3 player – they just improved them. So don’t be put off if your idea has been done before. Instead, think about how you can improve it by doing it differently.

6.    Become a people person

As the saying goes, ‘people do business with people’. So you need to get out there and talk to people. Networking is a relatively cheap way to market your business – and one of the most effective.

Do you have any top tips for starting your own business? Or perhaps you’re already a successful entrepreneur? Join the discussion on Twitter by including #ACCA in your tweets.

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