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Turning Redundancy Into Opportunity

DATE: 03/08/20

AUTHOR: Fiona Kennedy

Knock back or step forward? 

None of us like to imagine it but unfortunately redundancy can affect any of us with little notice. Undoubtedly one of the toughest professional experiences to cope with, redundancy frequently occurs during an already difficult economic period.  It can be hard to bounce back from personally, and professionally.

If you’ve recently been made redundant or you’re worried that redundancies could impact you in the future, now could be a good time to consider your options. Friends and family telling you that ‘this could be a great opportunity’ may sound hollow right now. Hold on though, there really are some possible positive things to bear in mind when you’re taking stock of your professional future.

Consider your options 

Redundancy does not mean you immediately have to find another job and move on. That reaction is understandable, most of us will have financial responsibilities to consider. Replacing one salary with another will seem a priority. This is indeed important but it’s worth taking a pause, being as broad-minded as possible, and considering all the avenues available to you. AXA reports that 1/3 of UK startups were born out of redundancy or from unemployment. This just underlines that in many cases individuals have turned their apparent misfortune into a whole new opportunity. Many entrepreneurs in this position also report that the crisis of redundancy taught them the key skills they ultimately needed to succeed in their own business.

If you have long harboured a desire to be your own boss, or you’ve been sitting on an idea for a business, redundancy might just be the push you need to take that next step. But what advice should you consider before you do that?

Take Some Time

Notice period is king

If you are made redundant, you will have a notice period. Use this wisely. It is the perfect time to sit back and consider where you want to be professionally in the next 5 -10 years. What is it that you want to be doing? Are there aspects of your current job that you love and you’d like to continue? Skills you know you have that are unused? Really brainstorm what you want from your professional life and then use your notice period to plan everything out.

Research, research, research

You can never do too much preparation. Research is invaluable. No matter what area of business you’re thinking of, research the market. Research your customers. Deep-dive into your product, your pricing, your USP. Consider your budget, your market competitors, your communications strategy. Getting into every corner of your future business is time well spent.

Think big, start small

Be open-minded. Dream big about the things you’ve always wanted to achieve and the goals you want to set yourself. Do your blue sky thinking and settle on the idea you want to pursue but do bear in mind that being realistic and conservative when you start is essential. Starting small with whatever you can manage on your own will serve you well. Gaining experience from taking on every part of your business yourself will be invaluable when you do come to scale and grown your brand.

Be resourceful

Talk to friends, sound people out on your idea, and join local groups and business organisations for support. There are many resources available free online, advice available through local organisations and ways to inform yourself without spending all of your business funds. Ask for advice from other entrepreneurs, take on board their suggestions and be smart about what you choose to spend your time and money on.

Get into the details

Not the most glamorous part of any start-up but truly one of the most important, don’t forget to get into the details of the legal and financial requirements of your new business. Making legal and financial plans so that you’re covered as you grow your business is essential for any successful start-up.

Choose what works for you

It seems obvious but it’s worth saying: choose something you like, choose something that you find easy (enough!), and choose something that has value. If you can work on a business that ticks all these boxes, you’ll be in a good position. No matter what hurdles or problems you face, if you enjoy what you do and it suits your life and financial requirements, that’s key.

Why consider a start up?

Starting up your own business after redundancy is certainly not the answer for everyone but if you’ve always harboured a hope of being your own boss, then there are certainly many advantages in taking the leap into self-employment.


Many entrepreneurs decide to set up their own business to suit their lifestyle. Working around family and children and being able to set your own schedule are assets not normally found in traditional employment. Perhaps you want to travel more and your business plan reflects you doing that. Or maybe working from home is vital for your family life so building that into professional role should be a priority.

Take Control

Setting up your own business is a way of taking control of your professional life. Yes, there are risks attached (as there are in any professional role) but being your own boss, making your own business decisions, and being part of all aspects of the business undoubtedly gives you more control as well as the ability to steer your professional business in the right direction.

Enhance Your Skills

Doing what you love and doing what you’re good at is a good combination. Setting up and working in a business that you enjoy and in which you can excel will lead to more success than being stuck in an unfulfilling role that does not complement your natural skills. Professional lives are long and it’s important that we enjoy work (if possible) and feel that we’re achieving our goals. It could be that setting up your own business to maximise your own interests and skills is exactly how to do that.

The Opportunity You Are Waiting For

There’s no way around it, redundancy is hard and often unwelcome. But if you are able to stop and to take stock, to really establish what you want from the next stage of your professional life, it could be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for.


Whatever your business idea, whether it’s just something you’ve been mulling over or whether you’ve taken some steps on the entrepreneurial path already, we’d love to help. Read some of our Go For It Success Stories and get in touch. Our business experts will be delighted to hear from you and to talk you through everything you might need to know to move forward with your business concept.