Becoming your own boss is a big decision, an exciting one, one that's increasingly popular, especially for people with the ACCA Qualification.
'The qualification gives you an excellent understanding of how business works and how to quantify if you're truly making money in a sustainable fashion,' Sharon Critchlow FCCA, director at Newgrange Developments in Bristol, UK.
Sharon, who set up Newgrange Developments in 1998 to offer specialised technical project management services, says she has seen many wonderful business proposals that are more gloss than substance, and it's her ACCA training that has helped her to quickly find the fundamental proposition.
'ACCA gives a level of credibility to any business proposal you put your name to, which is helpful when looking for finance and it also provides access to a network of professionals with diverse talents, both locally and internationally via other members.'
While for Sharon the decision to become her own boss was to have the freedom to try new things and to answer the burning question 'what if…?', for Muhammad Nadeem FCCA, founder of SigmaTen Accounting Services in Edinburgh, UK, with 12 years' experience in the corporate sector and a young family he wanted to spend more time with, he felt the time was right to make the leap into entrepreneurialism. 'I felt I had learned enough that I could offer my services without the need for an established large corporate structure. Also, I wanted more flexibility over my work-family life and a demanding full time job would not have allowed for that.'
Muhammad looked at his education and career to identify the areas in which he'd exceeded and how he could best utilise them to help clients. 'I’d spent almost all my career in management accounting and financial reporting and working and designing ERP solutions, so I decided to help SMEs with up-to-date real-time management information so they can better manage their finances and make informed business decisions.
'ACCA provides a solid base on which to build. I would have seriously struggled to deliver if it was not for ACCA studies.'
Muhammad's top three tips on preparing for entrepreneurialism?
- Don't be afraid of failures on the way. Fail quickly, learn and move on. Look at failures as an opportunity to learn and improve.
- Be resilient. Despite planning extensively, some things will surprise you, so be prepared to deal with them.
- Do something you passionately believe in and where you genuinely believe you can add value. Have a clear value proposition for your customers that is different from the competition.
Sharon's top three tips on being a successful entrepreneur?
- Being fearless in your commitment to a goal or outcome and being willing to adapt and learn new skills - comfort zone…what comfort zone?
- Creating a win-win situation. People often say 'what's in it for me', but even more important is to understand what's in it for them. It helps you to spot good opportunities with growth potential.
- Helping others along the way. There is an old saying 'what goes around, comes around', and successful entrepreneurs tend to have a large network of supporters built upon putting people in touch with others, using their influence to help someone else's project etc, and all of this creates goodwill for your next deal.