But many are under the illusion that, without tens of thousands of pounds stashed away in savings or a big start-up loan, going solo is simply not an option.
However, the fact is that you don’t necessarily need thousands of pounds in order to set up in business.
Nowadays many businesses can be started with just a laptop, web space and internet connection.
According to research from Peopleperhour, the average business now costs just £312 to start and 76 per cent of micro-businesses are started for less than £1,000.
Many high-profile firms started life with very little in the way of finance. Take Sir Alan Sugar, who is believed to be worth around £800 million. He started his business career selling cigarette lighters and aerials out of a van he purchased with his £100 savings.
I turned £1,000 of savings into a 240-strong business and I know several other self-made millionaires who have started their businesses on a lot less.
If you’re going to be a shoestring entrepreneur you need to think about the type of business you’re starting and the industry it is in. You don’t want to go into competition with Tesco, for example. However, there are many industries suited to budget beginnings.
And the idea you need a new big idea to make money is not true. You don’t have to come up with something unique that no one has ever heard of to make money. As the great philosopher Seneca once said, the best ideas are common property.
In business you’re often much better off looking for something that is already doing well, then take that idea and put your spin on it – do something different, make it better. If you’re starting on a shoestring, you don’t have the money to develop a market, so choose something where you already have a captive audience.
The growth of the internet has changed the face of business, but it has also created fantastic opportunities for those starting up on a small budget.
While an online presence is essential from the early days, it doesn’t need to be an all-singing, all-dancing website. You can build a simple site on WordPress for free.
Thanks to tools like Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube, you can now market your business to a worldwide audience at no cost, only your time. Online tactics such as writing a blog, pay-per-click and Facebook advertising are great low cost ways to raise awareness of your offering.
And if you have something to sell, take advantage of the online retail giants like Amazon and eBay, who have done the hard work to build up an audience for you to sell to.
If you are looking to sell face-to-face, start with a pop-up shop to test the water before committing to a retail premises.
The overheads of expensive premises can often cripple businesses in the early days so one of the most obvious cost savings when you first set up is to work from home, if your business allows. In fact, research shows that 86 per cent of start-ups begin in a spare room. But if you feel that you need a business premises, consider renting desk space in the first instance, rather than a full office and try to negotiate rent-free periods with landlords.
No matter how much money you have to start up, make sure you’re doing something you love and have an interest in. As Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, said on many occasions one of the key ingredients of starting a successful business is having a passion for what you are doing and I couldn’t agree more. Passion, self-belief and drive are crucial.
Running your own business can be exciting, draining, liberating, stressful and satisfying – all at the same time – but the rewards that come with being your own boss are well worth it.