Who is this guide for? The simple answer is that this guide is for you. You that is, if you are the owner – full or part – of a professional services business or aspire to become so. Indeed, this guide is for if you are just keen to explore the idea of setting up your own such firm.
Maybe you are reading this, pre launching out, wondering whether you have what it personally takes to be a successful entrepreneur? If so, you are right to dwell on this topic. No other feature is going to be more fundamental in determining the success, or otherwise, of your business than your attitude and ‘basket’ of personal values, capabilities, prior experiences and motivations. This guide describes the ten elements of the ‘Complete Entrepreneur’ as well as exploring the related questions of start-up timing and your attitude towards people, work and risk.
Professional service businesses have unique challenges of their own; this guide ensures you have thought through these aspects also prior to setting out. It will also agitate your consideration of matters that will determine whether this is a journey you will enjoy … for example, how will the ‘Important Others’ in your life be impacted, how do you best sustain yourself through the trials and tribulations of company growth? Ultimately, however, if you have the beginnings of an entrepreneurial idea, this guide will leave you motivated for the journey ahead. Through a combination of case study and pragmatic checklists, it does throw in a dose of realism to ensure you are well considered in your plans; thereafter, however, this book is all about fostering the spark. The world needs more people like you!
This questionnaire facilitates a (light-hearted) review of your attributes, motivational drivers and skillsets … as required to enjoy, and be successful at, running your own professional services company. The answers are not designed to lead you to any absolute conclusion; rather, to aid you in your own self-assessment. The most interesting discussion points will come from comparing your self-assessment with those close, trusted friends and acquaintances undertake on you.Download Resource
If you are at the stage of just starting-up your new firm, or giving this career move serious consideration, you will no doubt have a myriad of questions and anxieties. Perhaps, the best way to answer some of these is to join the discussion thread on this Guide and throw your question out there … Dom, and others in the professional community here, may be able to give you some useful steers and perspectives. You will quickly find that entrepreneurs have high respect for others who take this path and will be very willing to share their experiences with you.
If you are further down the path and seek more formal advice (e.g. non-executive support) from Dom, please see the ‘Related Services’ page for more details.View Related Services Contact
The guides are being published as they are completed. The completed (foundational) guides are available on this site with the remainder of the series still to be written ... according to reader feedback and direction. Please vote below to influence the chronology in which the remaining guides are produced.
An excellent way to kick off the series – aside from being an enjoyable read (written in an engaging style), it was easy to relate to points being made and liken Dom’s ambition and challenges to my own situation.
Whilst I’m not quite there just yet in terms of setting off on the entrepreneurial journey (maybe in the next few years!), I’ve referred three of my good friends to the site who are just setting off entrepreneurial journeys of their own.
Having set up and run a professional services company for 9 years I was particularly interested in assessing where I am now with it and on the prospects for moving it further along the path towards potential sale. I found the analysis of motivation, circumstances and timing with respect to personal situation and values to be extremely relatable and helpful – having faced the questions and soul searching many times. Also the personal insights from Dom’s own journey were utterley real and extremely valuable in ‘personalising’ the whole process and making it somehow more accessible to me. This is exactly the kind of input and realism I need to help me to work out what to do next and whether I am ready for it. First Class!
This was a very readable, easily understood guide, which told it like it is. Everything is possible with the right application, energy and committment, focussed in right direction and with a smattering of luck, but dont expect it to be an easy ride and dont take it on unless the circumstances are right. The personal examples made it easier to relate to and the questionnaires certainly make you sit up and take stock. Definately worth reading.
Aardvark Safaris is a top end bespoke travel company specialising in Africa, so not quite the ‘professional services company’ the guide is aimed at. We’re also not new to business, having started in 1999. We have however changed focus from simply selling great holidays, to selling great holidays with a stated growth and structure plan, which we’re now trying to refine and then stick to.
Although not strictly for our sector, this first guide is eminently readable with lots of lessons to take away and implement in our business. I’ve moved on now to others in the series, but this first guide is something I think I’ll find myself going back to time and again.
Thanks Richard. And … just to say … as someone who has been a client on their holidays … what an excellent safari-specialist travel company Aardvark are!
Truly outstanding: crystal clear and comprehensive. It’s like having a personal mentor sitting beside you to make sure that absolutely nothing is left to chance.
This initial guide certainly makes you think and properly assess whether the journey is for you. Being an entrepreneur or starting out on your own is not for the faint of heart and if you have a partner and children as well, the road ahead will be tough but hopefully rewarding. Dom hasn’t dressed up anything and his own path to success, as told in an engaging way in this guide, will spur you to take the plunge, move forward purposefully on a path you’ve already taken or hold back until you know that you’re ready. Nice one Dom – thank you.
Tom … many thanks for your kind comments and, of course, best of luck with your own entrepreneurial ventures.
Great point about “blend” of experience – large and small organisations, leading teams, technical confidence. For me, what came through was Andy’s passion to be an entrepreneur.
A demand in the market place for your services is also a nice to have too!
Motivating stuff thanks Dom.