Your ‘To Do’ List When Starting a Business.
When starting a business, you have a great task ahead of you. This is not to intimidate you. It is just to prepare you so that you can succeed in the business you are starting. It is no longer news that a great number of small businesses do not survive their initial five years. Some of the factors responsible for the failure of small businesses have been discussed in the previous article. Therefore, I will not want to go back to them here. If you are yet to read it, you can follow the link to the article.
One of the mistakes young entrepreneurs make when starting a business is that, they think starting a business is all about the registration of business name. Starting a business does not end there. That is a just legal requirement you need to fulfil. If you are starting a business, below are very important steps to take at the initial stage. This will put you on a fast lane of success.
If you have ever visited Corporate Affairs Commission, you will meet a large number of people saying they are starting a business just by mere registering their business names. Of course, that is a good step in the right direction but it should not stop there. I want you to understand that you don’t know how to create and run a business yet. It is possible you have 10 years of experience working as an employee. Starting a business requires a different mind set entirely. You need to unlearn what you are used to. Be ready to learn new things in order to be successful. Learning is a continuous process. You simply can’t stop doing it. You don’t need to break bank in order to acquire knowledge. There are free resources on the Internet. There are various free online courses on entrepreneurship. You can also schedule meetings with other entrepreneurs. Connect to them and learn from them. For instance, I met an entrepreneur few months ago. Even though he is younger in age, he knows a lot about entrepreneurship. Since then, I have been visiting him often. Each time I visit him, I always learn new things as it relates to the area of marketing.
If you are starting a business, you need to learn marketing, accounting, IT, etc. You should have a collection of good sources of information. You can put them on Feedly (or any similar tool) and read it every day. Bookmark websites that you like and believe will be helpful in the future.
Read Also: Characteristics of Entrepreneurs
Let People Know
Made a list of everyone you knew. People you know are one of your greatest resources. Let them know that you are starting a business. A point of correction! You are not just telling them you are starting a business, you need to be more specific. Tell them what the business you are starting is all about. Let them know about the product or service you render. Ask them if they know of anyone you should talk to.
“You can have everything you want in life, if you will just help other people get what they want”, said Zig Ziglar. Helping others do what they want to do is a powerful method to learn. You test the things you only know by concept. Helping another will create a great sense of power. You will fill fortunate and you will be more prepared to run your business. Therefore, if you are just starting a business, this is not the time to charge a high price. You should be prepared to make some sacrifice an the initial stage. By the time people start having confidence in you, you can raise your fee.
Read Also: Developing Your Skills As An Entrepreneur
Don’t be afraid of failure
You need to go out there and put the things you learn to the test. Test your skills. Initially, it may appear you fail. Don’t stop there. “It is not how far you fall, but how high you bounce that counts”, said Zig Ziglar. Try again and you will eventually succeed. However, you should not confuse perseverance with stubbornness. When you realize that one thing is not working, be humble enough to change direction. Zig Ziglar advised that when obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal, you do not change your decision to get there.
Prepare to work hard
If you are starting a business, you need to brace up. You should be prepared to work hard. Business is not for lazy people. If you actually want to make a mark, you need to be a hardworking individual. Starting a business from the scartch is not a child play. Remember that you will be the one doing virtually everything at the initial stage. Unlike in a large organization where there are division of labour. When you are starting a business, it is likely that you will be the only staff. You will be playing the roles of the Chief Exeucutive officer, marketing manager, sales manager etc. You need to attend meetings, executive projects and also do some menial jobs which you would have otherwise delegated if you have staff working with you, However, in order not to suffer any burnout, you should know when to take a rest. Also, as you start having positive cash flow, you need to hire staff who can complement your skills and efforts. The fact that you are starting a business alone does not mean that the business should be run by you alone.
Prepare to work for long hours
If you have been working as an employee, there is a tendency that you have been used to 9 – 5 pm work schedule. This work schedule is possible in a well established business where they already have good customer base. Perhaps the customers operate 9-5 pm working hours too. But when you are just starting a business, you are hungry for customers. Customers can come at odd times and you you be available to meet their needs.In most cases, you may need to work late into the night. Ocassion may warrant that you need to wake up in the night to work in order to meet certain deadlines.
This is what some young entrepreneurs don’t know when when are starting a business. Starting a business requires that you sacrifice pleasures for some time. For a three year period, you may not be able to go for a leave. Imagine what will happen to a business you are just starting if you leave it for a whole week. Your customers will take you unserious and you may lose them to your competitors. Availability is very key when starting a business. If you are not available, customers will not wait for you. They will try another source and that they be the end. Do you know something? The fact that certain customers patronise you regularly does not mean that you offer the best service or product. Therefore, wisdom demands that you guide your customers jealously. Don’t give them opportunity to try another source because a trial may convince them that your competitor is better.
Seek your spouse cooperation
If you are starting a business, whether you are a male or female, you should seek the cooperation of your spouse. When you have peace at home front, you will be able to concentrate on how to build and grow the business you are starting. You need the cooperation of your spouse in the area of finance. You may need to maintain a lean budgets both at home and for your business. Also, you may not have much time to spend with your family. You need the understanding of your spouse in this area. Your non availability at home when you are starting a business may be mis-understood for another thing. However, the fact that you are starting a business should not mean you should not play your roles at home. Try as much as possible to balance things well.
Starting a business requires that you network with colleagues, customers, suppliers, bankers and other entrepreneurs. All these groups of people will play crucial roles in your business. There are many avenues for networking. Networking can be done at social gathering, clubs, churches, mosques, communities and even online via social media. Make most of every networking opportunity. Always have your business card handy. As a person just starting a business, marketing is one of your primary functions.
If you can take the steps highlighted above when starting a business, you will find the journey easier.