How Many People Are Needed To Start A Business?

Ray Stewart Business, General Leave a Comment

This week I have been reading a book lent to me on Monday called The Beermat Entrepreneur: Turn Your Good Idea into a Great Business.  It contains quite a lot of useful information for people thinking of starting a new business.  However, it does leave the reader with a few misconceptions about the number of people involved in getting a new business up and running.

For example, they left me thinking that unless there are at least 5 people plus a mentor involved right from the outset, that a business had no chance of life.  I wanted to add my two-pennies worth in case other readers received the same impression as me.

In my long experience, the reality is that most businesses are started by one person and grow at a pace determined mainly by the vision and energy of the entrepreneur.  A lot of businesses never get larger than 4 or 5 people throughout a long and successful life.  Does that mean such a business is any less successful than one that quickly reaches a multi-million turnover and is floated on the stock exchange?

Not really.  It depends on your definition of success.  What is yours?  How do you define if your business is successful or not? 

To me, success is if the founder achieves freedom.  Freedom to work, or not work as they wish.  Freedom to buy what they need, when they need it, without having to think about whether or not they can afford it.

This level of success can be achieved at any level of turnover, it just depends on the founder’s lifestyle and needs.  So, a small business is successful to me even if it employs one or two people and has a turnover of £150K.  As long as the founder achieves freedom.  Some people only look at turnover and anything less than multi-million is an abject failure.  I don’t agree at all.

So, how many people are needed to start a business – just 1.  So don’t be put off by some of the books out there if they claim any less than 5 will never get a business off the ground.  The authors of those books tend to be ones who judge success by millions of turnover, rather than freedom.

Don’t be put off.  If you feel the urge to start a business – do it.  You will regret forever if you don’t at least try.


Ray Stewart
I am a qualified Certified Practising Accountant having passed my final exams way back in 1981. I actually can’t believe that was 37 years ago!! Anyway, I am now in my 60’s and I have been running my own business since May 1983. And before you ask, no, I have never regretted a moment of it! Part of the membership requirements of my professional body now dictate that I spend quite a lot of time on “CPD” - continuing professional education (one of their better ideas) - and over the last two years I decided to study business growth and marketing. I have learnt such a lot and that knowledge has radically changed my old “accountants” approach to business. It has made such a difference to the way I work and operate I feel that I just have to pass on this knowledge. It is simply too powerful to hold back!! - but I will try and do it in simple terms rather than expecting you to spend hours, as I had to, working through the difficult language that trainers seem to use to pass on their concepts. I hope you find the blog a useful resource and interesting place to visit as the months pass. I will do my best to keep up the flow - but if there are any topics you would like me to cover, then please let me know. Ray Stewart
Ray Stewart
Ray Stewart

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