In my heart, I always harboured the dream of being a business owner. It was a desire that had been ingrained in me by my family, who had a legacy of entrepreneurship. I yearned for the freedom that comes with breaking free from the 9-to-5 corporate world, and honestly, I was just plain bored with it all. However, it wasn't a decision I made lightly. It took me until the age of 53 to gather the courage to take the plunge and establish Sharon Wray Accountancy Services. I was leaving behind a well-paid job with an enviable pension plan and a whopping 43 days of annual leave. But in March 2017, I embarked on this new adventure.
From the time I initially qualified in 2003, making a career shift from retail management to accountancy, I had kept my practising licence. Even while working as a full-time business analyst, I dedicated my evenings and weekends to provide accountancy services to the few clients I had at the time.
Throughout this journey, I encountered several challenges, each of which became an opportunity for growth:
- Imposter Syndrome: The feeling of not being good enough often crept in, but it also pushed me to improve.
- Growth: Knowing when and how to expand the business was a constant question.
- When Was the Right Time to Employ Staff: Balancing the need for help with limited resources was a challenge, get the best workforce you can find who will have your back and help you grow.
- Limited Time with Family: Striking the right balance between work and family became a daily challenge, it’s crucial for your own wellbeing to take time out to spend with family and friends.
- Cashflow: The lifeline of any business, know your numbers, budget and don’t overspend.
But, amid these challenges, there were remarkable accomplishments.
- My Team: Having a dedicated and talented team of professionals who share my vision.
- Xero Silver Partner: Achieving recognition as a Xero Silver Partner, a testament to our commitment to excellence.
- Client Growth: From just 9 clients to a thriving portfolio of 270 clients today.
- Finalist for the Norfolk Small Business Awards: Striking the right balance between work and family became a daily challenge, it’s crucial for your own wellbeing to take time out to spend with family and friends.
- Being a Cloud-Based Practice: Embracing modern technologies, we transformed into a cloud-based practice to provide digital services such as receipt data capture and direct links to banks to better serve our clients.
My Top Tips
For those considering the entrepreneurial journey, here are my top tips:
- Have a Business Plan: Create a well-structured business plan that outlines your goals, strategies, and values.
- Know Your Numbers: Understanding your finances is critical. Ensure you have a robust cash flow forecast.
- Find Your Passion: successful business often builds businesses around subjects they are genuinely enthusiastic about.
- Solve a Problem: Look for problems or inefficiencies in your market, address real needs of your customers.
- Build a Strong Network: connect with mentors, advisors and other like-minded business owners.
- Focus on Customer Needs: ensure you deliver excellent customer service that will lead to repeat business and referrals.
- Work Hard and Stay Committed: being a business owner can mean long hours but by putting the effort in now, will reap rewards for you in the future.
- Look after your own wellbeing: don’t forget that you need to take time out, it’s so important to take the best care of yourself to be the best version of yourself.
- Be Patient: success may not come overnight, be resilient and persistent when facing challenges.
It’s Never Too Late
As I reflect on my journey, one thing becomes clear: it's never too late to turn your dreams into reality. If you're a business owner or someone considering venturing into entrepreneurship, remember that the path may be challenging, but the rewards are worth the effort. If you're seeking professional accounting services or advice to fuel your entrepreneurial aspirations, don't hesitate to contact me at Sharon Wray Accountancy Services. Let's transform your business dreams into a thriving reality. Your success story could be just around the corner.