find a job or buy a business
Life is a journey that we all move through. We attend school and maybe go onto further studies.  We form relationships, get a job and maybe have a family. Often we will seek out a better job or maybe we start out on our own or buy a business. Later we move into retirement having sold our business or retired from working.

The NZ education system, by design, tends to promote study, then study more to get a better job – this is a low-risk and study concentric path which works for many, but doesn’t suit everyone. The consequence of this is that owning a business is often overlooked as a career option, when starting or buying a business can bring some great rewards and opportunities.

Buying a business or finding a job, both have their benefits

Purchasing a small business lets you become your own boss. You get to grow and reap the many rewards - both now and when you sell your business. You thereby avoid the limitations of a job, the need to report to a boss, and the risks of a start-up.

Having a job is low risk and will generally give you security of income, a purpose and maybe respect and status from doing well. While some love their jobs, research by Seek job website found that forty per cent of the NZ workforce are unhappy in their jobs.

With a job, there are the benefits of regular pay and leave entitlements. However, as an employee, you are likely to be financially constrained by set hours, work restrictions, and a boss to answer to. And, as we have seen in recent months, you can still lose your job - no matter how good it is, or how good you are.

In essence, with a job, you are trading your time for money and working on someone else’s mission - under their direction. This can work fine, especially if you are well rewarded, risk adverse and love the work and people - unfortunately this is not always the case, nor is it guaranteed.

In today’s environment, finding a job that matches your talents, education and interests may not be that easy. Higher unemployment can make good jobs super competitive, and you may have decided you want more flexibility and control. Perhaps now is the time to become your own boss.

Buying a business can be a great option and can be both scary and exhilarating. Here you get to run your own show, and can employ others to help you operate it. This can be hugely rewarding, but can carry additional work load and more risk, because you are now backing yourself.  You will need to be across a number of areas, including sales, accounting, people management and resources. Sometimes the income may be inconsistent due to markets, competition, and trends. You will need to be creative and disciplined to make it work.

With moving into the business world, there are some lower and higher risk options. Lower risk options include franchises which have a more prescriptive and proven business system. Franchises are generally lower in cost to buy and less risky, and because you will need to comply with their rules, they are less flexible. They also generally come with some marketing and support, and offer training. A franchise can provide a good standard of living, a sense of community and you can later onsell it.

At the other end of the scale there are the business start-ups. These are considered high risk and it can take some time before an idea is proven, the market developed, and the cash starts rolling in. While some make it and do very well, unfortunately many start-ups don’t. Statistics NZ report only 37 percent of start-ups still exist after two years.

Next to consider is buying a business – these range from a simple sole operator type business, where you do your own thing, to those with plant and staff where you will need to have more money to invest and management type skills. There are a huge range of businesses for sale out there, so it is important that you choose one that you can afford and that suits your skills.  And it must be a business you that you can add value to and can get passionate about.

To be self-employed you need to have the right mindset and be able to make that leap-of-faith that you can make it work! Going from employee to entrepreneur means changing not only your lifestyle, but also your thinking. It pays to ask yourself: do I have what it takes to own a business, or am I better suited to being an employee?

6 Essential qualities for business owners

1. Able to identify what’s important and do it.
2. Manage the finances and profitability of the business.
3. Be self-motivated - no one is going to push you.
4. Set your own goals and plan your path to success.
5. Manage your time and possibly staff.
6. Be resilient and agile so you stay in business.

A business is a vehicle through which we contribute our efforts to satisfy the needs of others. Unlike a job, you now have the steering wheel and get to enjoy the freedom and flexibility of this journey. And depending on the direction of the business and how you run it, you will get rewarded. Ideally, it’s highly successful and you get to sell your business when it comes time to move on - having built a successful enterprise and legacy.

Having a job you love is great, and one way to get that is to consider buying a business or buying a franchise.

The key to successful self-employment is to do your homework and get advice from the professionals. It is important to ensure it's something you are passionate about, and that you have the appropriate skills. Be as prepared as you possibly can and ensure there is a market for your product or service.

Stay motivated and focused, and we wish you all the best in whatever you do.

Richard O'Brien - nzbizbuysell

For more information on finding the right business to buy visit:
NZ Businesses for Sale and subscribe to our free buyer bulletins and newsletters.

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