Being an entrepreneur in Thailand – Is it right for you?
Before deciding to become self-employed in Thailand and start your own business, it’s a good idea to think through the implications of working for yourself. Have clear reasons for taking the decision and a vision of what you want to achieve, and understand what it really takes to be an entrepreneur in Thailand.
People choose to become an entrepreneur for a variety of reasons, but merely disliking your current job, or perhaps not having one at all, is not necessarily sufficient. Begin by asking yourself the following questions:
- Do you know exactly what you are going to do?
- Does it use your strongest skills?
- Can you make enough money doing it?
- Do you know where you want to be in five years’ time?
- Will self-employment help you get there?
Thinking about these questions will help you evaluate the idea of self-employment from a realistic perspective, before you start setting up a company in Thailand.
Reaping the financial rewards of your own efforts, independence and freedom are some of the potential positives of running your own business. More responsibility, stress, isolation and longer working hours are some of the realties of working for yourself.
There is no getting away from it your success in setting up your own business will depend on both your personal qualities and your business skills. Evaluate yourself and get feedback from colleagues, friends and family, to obtain an honest appraisal of your qualities.
The main factors for success in starting a business are:
- Drive and determination
- A well-defined set of objectives
- Hard work
- A willingness to listen – and learn
- Common sense and realism
- A very clear focus
Ask yourself whether you have the right practical skills for the type of business you want to run. By looking at how other businesses operate you can see the variety of skills and knowledge you might need to make your self-employment a success.
Even if you have a unique selling point or a competitive advantage your business is still likely to face many challenges. The facts speak for themselves – Most small businesses fail inside five years. You can however considerably reduce the risks of setting up a business in Thailand. Investing in a Thai franchise is an option worthy of serious consideration.
Franchise businesses tend to grow quicker and survive longer than independent start ups. It makes sense when you think what franchising is about. Investing in a tried, tested and proven business model gives the investor a head start. When you also consider the initial training and ongoing support received from the franchisor it becomes apparent why franchising continues to grow in popularity.
A word of warning – Not all franchises will offer you a good investment opportunity. So how do you navigate through the franchise minefield? The first golden nugget of advice is to attend a British Franchise Association franchisee seminar. They are regularly held throughout the UK and are an essential starting point to researching franchising as an investment option. Details of the forthcoming seminars are available on the BFA website.
Don’t rush into making an investment in the first franchise you see. Thoroughly research your options. Ensure that the franchise opportunity you are considering will deliver what you want from self-employment. Speak to the franchisor and ask questions. Lloyds TSB provides a free guide to prospective franchisees with a list of 30 key questions you should be asking to ensure that you make an informed decision about the investment. This guide is available to download at the Lloyd’s Bank website.
You should also talk to as many existing franchisees as you can. By asking carefully chosen questions you can establish how successful the franchisees have actually been and the level of support they have received form the franchisor. Ask for a list of all the franchisees and don’t let the franchisor ‘cherry pick’ which ones they want you to speak to.
Franchising is often referred to as being in business for yourself, but not by yourself. Having the support of a good franchisor who can offer guidance and advice, particularly in the early stages, is a comfort for any business owner. There are franchise opportunities available that suit most people’s skills, experience and budget.
Whether you are looking to set up your own independent business or are considering investing in a franchise, your long term success will be linked to the thoroughness of your research and having the right skills for your chosen business.
Head of Franchising
Lloyds Banking Group
Tel: 07802 324018
Richard heads up the Lloyds Bank franchise team and is a regular contributor to trade publications and national press. He regularly speaks at franchise seminars and exhibitions.