Is entrepreneurship in social care for you?
In business, there are no guarantees. There is simply no way to eliminate all the risks associated with starting a social care business - but you can improve your chances of success with good planning, preparation, and insight. Start by evaluating your strengths and weaknesses as a potential owner and service provider. Carefully consider each of the following questions.
Are you a self-starter?
It will be entirely up to you to develop projects, organise your time, and follow through on details. Are you going to be able to commit to this to see the project through?
How well do you get along with different personalities?
Business owners need to develop working relationships with a variety of stakeholders including commissioning and placement teams, social workers, service users, families, staff, bankers, and professionals such as lawyers, accountants or consultants. Can you deal with a demanding client, an unreliable payee, or a tight commissioner if your business interests demand it?
How good are you at making decisions?
Small business owners are required to make decisions constantly - often quickly, independently, and under pressure. Will you be able to make quick decisions on the types of client you will receive, payment terms and staffing needs?
Do you have the physical and emotional stamina to run a business?
Business ownership can be exciting, but it's also a lot of work. Can you face six or seven 12-14-hour work days every week?
How well do you plan and organise?
Research indicates that poor planning is responsible for most business failures. Good organisation of finance, statutory requirements, development planning and service outcomes can help you avoid many pitfalls.
Is your drive strong enough?
Running a business can wear you down emotionally. Some business owners burn out quickly from having to carry all the responsibility for the success of their business on their shoulders. Strong motivation will help you survive slowdowns and periods of burnout.
How will the business affect your personal life?
The first few years of a business start-up can be hard on family life. It's important for family members to know what to expect and for you to be able to trust that they will support you during this time. There also may be financial difficulties until the business becomes profitable, which could take months or years. You may have to adjust to a lower standard of living or put family assets at risk in the short-term.
The above questions are not designed to put you off starting up but to help you focus on some of the qualities you will need along the way and consider whether this is a practical step for you.