10 things to consider before starting your own business

Starting your own business in any industry is a big decision with many factors to consider. For the entrepreneurial, the property industry can be lucrative. But, with all the benefits of being your own boss, comes responsibility for compliance, legislation and of course, finances.

We have met hundreds of people who want to start their own property management business. There are many reasons why people choose to go it alone and it's not always motivated by money. Before you take the plunge, here are ten things to consider before starting your own business.

1. Is your own business what you really want?
If you are unhappy in your current role, is your own business what you really want? Or do you need a change of scenery or a break? Make sure your motivations are for the right reasons or it could be a very expensive mistake.

2. Is there a market or demand for your business idea?
Do a quick internet search to check that nobody else has thought of your great idea. You might need to set up in a different area or offer an extra service to increase your chances of success.

3. Can you afford to start your own business?
Whilst a bank loan is an option, you'll be in a much better position if your personal finances are up to scratch. Create a budget to account for everything and make sure you have at least 10% contingency.

4. Have you got a business plan?
You have probably spent your evenings researching prospective premises, and drafting a business plan in your head. Put all your ideas and research into a plan with real objectives and numbers.

5. Are you willing to accept the change in lifestyle?
Starting your own business means late nights. Switching off on holiday - if you can get away - is unlikely. You will live and breathe your business, but you'll be your own boss.

6. What does your support system look like?
Your network needs to extend beyond talking through your business idea with family and friends. Speak to industry professionals and business owners, even ask if they will mentor you. If you aren't sure where to start, try local business networking groups and LinkedIn.

7. Have you considered what you need to have in place to set up?
Whether you're working from home or renting an office, you need a business name and brand, company registration, domain name - the list goes on. Make a list to ensure nothing gets missed and you give a professional first impression to clients.

8. Does your current contract have a non-compete clause?
If your business idea competes with your current employer, check your contract.

9. Who is going to do your accounting, marketing, IT and legal work?
If you want to manage your central office functions, research exactly what's involved. Keeping up with taxes, marketing campaigns and compliance while doing your day job is not easy. Outsourcing this work puts it in expert hands and leaves you to focus on what you're good at.

10. How well do you know your industry?
If you're new to an industry, you won't have those valuable contacts, relationships and insider knowledge. Make time to attend industry events and read trade press to get a head start. In some industries, you may need qualifications, which you need to factor into your budget.

The research and work involved in starting your own business can feel overwhelming. If you feel that set up costs, compliance or business support are a barrier, consider a franchise. You can have the benefits and freedom of your own business with a support network in place. Each franchise scheme is different, but at SDL Property Partners this is how we do things:

- We’ll be part of your support system; you get access to our industry knowledge and connections to complement your local expertise
- We’ll take care of business set up, back office systems, annual accounts and branding; you can focus on property management
- We'll research your territory and provide full training, so you can hit the ground running
- If you need help with a business plan, we’ll help you do this as part of your training
- You’re in control of your work/life balance as you set your own hours and can work from home or an office

SDL Property Partners is a franchise scheme for property management. Find out more at www.sdlpropertypartners.co.uk