People start businesses or desire to set up businesses for several reasons. Reasons range from the need to have an extra source of income, to fulfilling a dream they have always had. Some people are just bored and think to themselves, “this business or this enterprise looks kind of interesting” and go for it; while others are extremely frustrated with their jobs, and the next rational move is to set up a business and be their own boss. Even adverts with the sole intention of luring us into some form of enterprise or another, use catch phrases like “fire your boss” or “build your empire today” because they are appealing to that part of us that believes that when we start “our own venture”, things will be easier and money will flood in.
Before you go packing the box or screaming at your employer and doing the “I quit!” move, here are some fun facts about starting a business.
1. IT IS HARDWORK
It is not enough to know what you want to do or the business you want to engage in, you must be certain that you are willing to commit to whatever comes with achieving success. Many business owners have said that new entrants should prepare not to make any significant profit for at least the first 2 years. This can mean whatever money is made should be put back into the business to grow it to the point where you can consider taking out some part of the profits for other things outside the business. It may also mean that the business, while growing, may not make any profit at all for that period of time. Those early stages are where you put in time, effort, energy and money.
2. KNOW YOUR BUSINESS
Before you start, you’d need more than just head knowledge of what you want to do, make sure you research and know what exactly you are getting into. Things to look out for when researching include:
a. What skills set does this venture require and, if you don’t have it, how do you get it? You either go for training to acquire the requisite skill or be prepared to hire someone who can (I would advice you learn the skill to help you personally and save you start up cost).
b. What is the industry like?
c. Who are the people in it?
d. Who are those getting it right and what can I learn from them?
3. DEFINE YOUR BUSINESS
You need to determine from the get go what exactly you do. In very clear terms decide what service you’ll be offering or what product you’ll be selling, avoid vagueness and be realistic.
Define who your target market is. Not everyone is your target market, you need to identify specifically who you know will need the product or service, so that you can tailor your efforts in that direction when you start.
4. GET YOURSELF TOGETHER
Prepare yourself, have a business plan. It does not have to be 'Harvard' standard, but have a clear work plan that would guide you when you start, and you can use as a reference point when you are having evaluations.
Get your mind right. You may achieve this by reading the right books or literature in business, or in the industry you’re getting into, watching videos that inspire and educate you, reading case studies and market trends etc.
Get yourself into the mental space, where you remind yourself of your commitment to your new venture - You want to give it give your best shot, not quit, but stick to it till the end.
Starting a business is serious business for serious minded people. The more work you put into getting ready, the better your chances are at success.
I wish you all the best.
Evangeline Udenyi runs CanonMark Consulting. Her firm believes in thought leadership, and provides trainings on staff management, organizational structure, team effectiveness and employee relations. The company also provides communication audits. She has passion for supporting business start-ups.