If you’re thinking of starting your own business in the IT industry, Richard Myers from Transmit Start-Ups gives you five reasons IT is such a promising industry for entrepreneurs.
1. National investment
According to the third annual report by Tech Nation released in March this year, the technology sector growing faster than the UK economy – and regional businesses are benefitting.
Nationally, the report revealed the UK leads in Europe, attracting £28bn in technology investment since 2011, compared with £11bn in France and £9.3bn in Germany. And, refreshingly, it’s not mostly London that’s benefitting – 72% of venture capital investment went to regional tech businesses in 2016.
2. Regional Specialisms
We’ve helped thousands of businesses across every single region in the UK start their own businesses and have undoubtedly seen patterns emerging. Interestingly, the Tech Nation report revealed very similar patterns.
The highest concentrations of high-growth tech companies are found in London, Bournemouth, Poole and Newcastle. Belfast has a flourishing cyber security scene, a hub of Edinburg-based businesses specialise in data analytics, and London and Cambridge-based businesses in artificial intelligence.
Startups can really benefit from this environment at the moment. Innovation certainly breeds further innovation, so it is extremely exciting for startups to be exposed to the mini Silicon Valley’s establishing themselves in their home regions.
3. Access to Finance
Starting up a technology-based business is not cheap. Whether you need money develop software, hire staff or take your business to the next level, you need upfront cash.
When it comes to accessing finance, there has never been a better time to start your own business. There are more options available than ever before and the government’s Start-Up Loan programme has proven to be extremely successful, helping 40,000 businesses (many of them in IT – our 6th most popular start-up sector) establish themselves through the provision of more than £250m worth of loans.
As a delivery partner of the government’s scheme, our start-up loans service helps those starting up in industries that require an upfront cash injection. Our unsecured fixed-rate fixed-term loans of up to £25,000 can be used on those big-ticket items – ultimately making starting up possible.
4. Job Satisfaction
According to survey results released last month by tech company TEKSystems, only 48% of entry-to-mid-level respondents and 38% of senior IT professionals say they're currently doing the most satisfying work of their career.
If you’re one of the 52-62% of unsatisfied IT professionals, maybe now is the time to be your own boss. The Royal Society of Arts (RSA) recently found that 84% of those that are self-employed claimed they were more satisfied in their working lives than they would have been in a conventional job.
5. Straight from the Horse’s Mouth
If you’re still unsure whether going it alone is for you, it’s always useful to hear from someone else who has been through the journey.
Lennart Hanson is director and founder of Glasgow-based outsourced server and network engineering company My Server Guy.
Lennart Hanson: “I started My Server Guy three years ago after working in IT since I was a teenager. I’d found while working in-house at various SMEs over my career that I’d do a great job of fixing a mess – I would start a new job, put processes in place and get servers and monitoring up and running smoothly. Then, I would find I’d done almost too good a job and everything was as good as it could be for the business – at which point I’d move to fix another IT mess at another SME.
“After doing this for some time I knew I liked solving problems for businesses and making sure their IT was running perfectly, but I also knew I could help more SMEs by starting my own business. Better still, this would be more affordable for SMEs too. To hire someone full-time would cost £50-70k, only for that person to not make the impact they used to once everything was established correctly. This way my services were affordable to more SMEs and they could have access to the skillset of a full-time IT professional just when they need it.
Lennart Hanson, Founder & Director, My Server Guy.
“Rather than taking the plunge and quitting my job, I started My Server Guy gradually. First, working in my own time on developing the idea whilst working full-time. Then, I moved to a part-time contract so I could work part-time on the business too, before eventually I was in a position to work for myself full-time.
“It was on that first-day of being 100 per cent self-employed that I officially felt like I was my own boss – which was hugely exciting but also daunting with a mortgage and family to support!
“A big challenge for me personally has been learning to wear lots of hats as a business owner. I’m a technical guy with an engineering background, so being responsible for the sales & marketing of the business too was a real learning curve.
“The second milestone came when I applied for a loan from Transmit Start-Ups. The process was really straight forward and their business plan template second-to-none. When my loan came through it really helped me take the business to the next level. I hired my first employee, launched a new website and re-branded the company and got some much needed mentoring and coaching in sales and marketing.
“The exciting thing is, the best is yet to come! In the next few months my brother will be joining the business and we’ll be taking on a computer science graduate as an apprentice. Things are really going from strength to strength and I can’t wait to see what the next 12 months bring.”
The digital economy, which is growing at twice the rate of the wider economy, now contributes around £97bn a year, up 30% in five years. If you’re interested in starting your own IT business, find out more about Transmit Start-Ups and the work they do at www.transmitstartups.co.uk, call 0845 094 3670 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.