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How do I leave my job and start a business? Dave Fishwick replies

I’ve been with the same company for nearly 20 years and feel ready for a new challenge. My passion is food and I’d like to start a food truck in my local area.

I’ve researched all of the red tape I’d need to cut to get started, such as hygiene requirements, leasing, supplier costs and competition and I was all set to go, but recent events have made me nervous, namely, the cost-of-living crisis.

I’m worried that people might start cutting back on non-essentials, such as takeaways, although I feel I have a strong USP that would prove popular where I live.

Trucking good idea? Our new regular columnist Dave Fishwick gives his views on ditching a well-paid job for a completely new venture (food truck: stock image)

I have the money to do it. I saved hard, am mortgage-free and have a supportive partner, but failure keeps me awake at night. 

Does this mean I’m not cut out to be a business owner and how do you muster the courage to get started?

I’m worried I’ll never take the plunge, someone else will launch something similar in the meantime and I’ll resent staying in my ‘safe’ job, being a cop-out and not trying. Via e-mail

Dave Fishwick, This is Money business doctor, replies: The first thing is passion – and it seems from your question that you have it. 

It is incredibly important. You need to love what your going to do, almost to the point that you would be prepared to do it potentially for free for a while, until you get on your feet.

A little caution can be helpful and my advice would be: don’t kick the sticks away of a good paying job until you have done all of your homework, and researched and costed the products properly that you are going sell. 

That applies to a food truck business, but essentially any business you’re tempted to start.  

I suggest testing the market to begin with, maybe at weekends or your days off – perhaps even as a part of any holiday you’ve accrued at your job. 

Try local markets, car boots, food fairs and other events. Build up a following, get that feedback and see where you potentially need to adapt and pivot. 

Dave Fishwick

Maybe consider delivering lunches to local businesses on a trial basis to keep your overheads at a minimum, ask for their feedback and suggestions.

This allows you to test which foods sell best, which are the most popular, and checking what works, and what doesn’t – and a hungry workforce can often be the harshest critic. 

You will be learning all about the costs of preparing different foods and meals, and testing to see if there is a demand for what you are selling, before you scale up to it full-time in your new business. 

This will help give you the confidence you need to be able to kick the sticks away and leave your job and enter the world of being self-employed and becoming your own boss.

I had two part-time jobs when I started my first business selling vehicles. This allowed me to pay my bills and eat. It was very hard work, but very helpful and definitely worth it.

It gave me experience in different jobs and also meant I could save hard and invest more into my business.  

These part-time jobs included being a DJ, often six nights a week – you can read more about my life story in this interview I did with This is Money deputy editor Lee Boyce earlier in the year. 

I predict challenging times ahead for many. However, people will always need to eat – and the popularity of takeaways shows no signs of slowing down. 

Have the courage to follow your dreams and good luck.

Difficult: How do I get respect from my long-standing work colleagues, who are now my workforce (stock image)

Difficult: How do I get respect from my long-standing work colleagues, who are now my workforce (stock image)

I’ve been thrust into a management role at my small family firm but am struggling to gain respect – how do I get it?…

I have worked at a small family business for a long-time, with many of the same faces having been there for decades. We’re friends as well as colleagues.

My parents, who created the business from scratch, both sadly passed away recently and I’ve been thrust at the top of the tree, and it’s a bit of an alien concept.

Namely, I think I might be a bit too nice for a management role and people are taking advantage a bit.

How do I gain respect from workers who are also friends, stuck in their ways without being too over the top? Via email.

Dave replies: It can be problematic being promoted above people you have worked with for many years – both for you and for your colleagues, and especially if you are younger than the members of staff. 

For many years, I was much younger than most of my staff and respect cannot be bought, however, it can definitely be earned.

I note your concerns about being too nice, I can tell you from my experience, that I have only raised my voice properly, maybe half a dozen times in more than thirty years. 

Good staff do not need shouting at and berating, they need help and encouragement. 

I truly believe, if you surround yourself with good people, good things will definitely happen.

My advice is to treat all your employees in the way you would want to be treated, if the shoe was on the other foot and you worked for them. 

Speak to each member of staff individually, explain the new situation and allow your team to come up with new ideas, and encourage them to think outside the box and reward them for the ideas that work best. 

Always listen to their individual concerns, and help out where you can. They may have ideas they have been bottling up and might be able to point out areas where the business can improve – it’s important to give your now employees the opportunity to air their voice. 

Remember a good leader takes a little more share of the blame and takes a little less share of the credit, leading a business from the front is incredibly important and will earn you respect along the way.

Ask Dave Fishwick a business or career advice question

Self-made millionaire and entrepreneur Dave Fishwick is our new columnist responding to your questions about business and careers.

Dave has a hugely successful minibus and vehicle business based in Lancashire and rose to fame with his BAFTA-winning television series, Bank of Dave, which saw him battle the big banks.

He is ready to answer your questions, whether you own a business, thinking about starting one or have general career questions. 

In his spare time, he likes to give talks to inspire people to be the best they can. 

A Netflix movie about Bank of Dave is set to air at the end of the year/start of 2023 and he has been a friend to This is Money for the last decade. He now wants to impart some of his wisdom and advice to our readers.

If you would like to ask Dave a question, please email him at bankondave@thisismoney.co.uk 

Dave will do his best to reply to your message in a forthcoming column, but he won’t be able to answer everyone or correspond privately with readers. Nothing in his replies constitutes regulated financial advice. Published questions are sometimes edited for brevity or other reasons.

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