What does it take to be your own boss?

Many people harbour an ambition to run their own business but far fewer turn dreams into reality.

It's not hard to understand why people stay with what they know. Having a relatively secure job is an enviable position and not one to relinquish lightly. The emergency services are an excellent illustration: cut-backs, new government policy and changes in regional organisation all impact jobs but at the end of the day skilled, trained and dedicated people will always be required in the healthcare and policing professions.

However, one thing is certain: a job for life has well and truly gone out of fashion! The 21st century working population faces continual change; often stressful but sometimes a catalyst for a new direction. If you are about to leave the service, how can you succeed and where do you start?

Dave Syrett and Godfrey Batson started MGS Electrical Installations Limited from a back bedroom. Fears of insufficient work were groundless; in fact their business got off to such a flying start that they soon had no time to plan, to do paperwork, or even to invoices their customers. Clearly, fast action was needed if the business was to survive. Within three months, MGS had moved into an office at the Colchester Business Centre, employed an accounts administrator, invested in IT, and taken their business to a point where they could manage day to day operations and consider the future.

Today, MGS employs electricians and office staff and is an established firm with a strong commercial customer portfolio. It is affiliated to the Electrical Contractors Association (which provides warranty bonds on work carried out by its members) and is looking to the next generation by participating in apprenticeship schemes.

MGS is a success story but it so nearly went so wrong. It is easy to get carried away with enthusiasm without taking time to study business viability or to consider the demands you will encounter in terms of time and resources.

Naturally, it is difficult - if not impossible - to be objective about your own ideas, especially if they involve a hobby or passion that you want to turn into a business. Colbea's advisors are not afraid to be cruel to be kind! They see many business start ups and can identify quickly those that have a good chance of success - as well as those that don't. Colbea's training courses provide a broad based approach to setting up in business, covering essentials that are as relevant to the self employed window cleaner as they are to the high tech business owner. Short, to the point, and focused on what you need for the future, these courses will equip you with business acumen as well as operational necessities such as cash flow management, paying your tax, and marketing your product or service.

A new business does not have to be a new idea. A trusted business model, customer service, thorough planning and 100% commitment are all ingredients for success. Ask Colbea about their range of courses designed especially for service leavers and their two Colchester Business Centres, which provide fully inclusive 'easy in easy out' office rentals. It could be the first step on an exciting and profitable new career.

Contact Colbea on 01206 548833 or


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