Advice from Alan to potential small business owners:

Main Story: Al La Kebab: Look before you leap 

Invest only your own money whenever possible. You’ll be a lot more careful about the decisions you make when it’s your own money at stake.

Do as much research as you can before you embark on a venture. Read books, consult experts – be as informed as you can be before you spend a cent.

Try to have enough funds in your account to cover six months of costs. Don’t rely on the business to take off from the very beginning. Have a nest egg in case of emergencies related to staff or equipment.

Keep your overheads as low as possible.

Train your staff. When you aren’t around they are the representatives of your brand and your company.

Don’t immediately throw in the towel if you experience a setback, but then also know when to cut your losses if something definitely isn’t working. Don’t let your pride make a decision that could potentially kill your business.

Make sure that you are completely committed to starting your own company otherwise you won’t be able to weather the tough times.