Research of 500 UK SME owners also revealed they would have liked to have appreciated how important sales and marketing is, as well as how much paperwork there will be.
More than one in five (22 per cent) wished they’d known how difficult it would be while for those considering starting their own business, advice included not being too downhearted if success isn’t immediate – and not trying everything themselves.
Other tips included trusting your own judgement more and to be prepared to see things through.
It also emerged 51 per cent thought the leap to start their own business was an easy one – however, a quarter initially found it difficult to take the plunge. And 31 per cent think it would be more difficult to start a business now, than when they did.
Despite this, 74 per cent would recommend becoming their own boss.
The study also revealed 44 per cent felt a lot of business admin got in the way of what they wanted to do when they first launched.
It also emerged respondents felt it took an average of two-and-a-half years to grow their business into a success.
The study, carried out via OnePoll on behalf of accounting software firm Dext, found that following the eventual end of the pandemic, 65 per cent will actively be looking to grow their business within the following year.
General business planning, financial management support from accountants and advice on diversifying the business were seen as the main routes of help that would support business growth – with these areas also being those business owners are most likely to pay for.
Yet more than four in 10 (41 per cent) do not use an accountant.
A spokesman from accounting software Dext, which commissioned the research, said: “The hard things about running a business are not the things you probably imagined when starting out. Which is why having a team and support you can rely on is so valuable.
“The learnings of those running SME businesses has been interesting to explore in the research, and what is evident is the emergence of the need for confidence, and to surround yourself with the right kind of expertise such as bookkeepers or financial management advisors.”
TOP 30 THINGS SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS WISH THEY HAD KNOWN WHEN STARTING OUT
- You shouldn’t beat yourself up when you make mistakes
- You need to be patient
- Pay attention to the small things
- It can be a stressful process
- Don’t be too downhearted if success isn’t immediate
- How important sales and marketing is
- You need to trust your judgement more
- Be prepared for sacrifice in your personal and professional life
- How much paperwork was involved in the running of a business
- Don’t try to do everything yourself
- You need to be ready to adapt your business offering
- It can be lonely being the founder of a business
- You’re not expected to know everything
- How difficult it is
- You need to be prepared to see things through in the long term
- Asking questions and taking opinions is a good thing
- To think more about cash flow
- It’s OK to make a loss
- Building relationships with suppliers is critical
- Hiring an accountant or bookkeeper will make your life a lot easier
- Take more breaks to maintain your enthusiasm
- You will have never done enough research
- How important it is to get the right people
- Hiring great people isn’t always easy
- Connect with other new business owners
- Don’t do something that someone else is better at
- Focus on one core product
- The fact personnel management takes a lot of time
- Hire people that are strong at what you are weaker at
- You don’t know your product as much as you think you do