Are you starting a new business? Everybody will suddenly be an expert on that business; will have an opinion and lots of advice. However, that's not the help you want! I've put together a list of items that you can keep in mind and possibly implement or consider in your new business.
- Be an ant and build up a good savings before you venture out. There is no way the entrepreneurship bug suddenly drops down on you. It must have been germinating in your mind for a long time. You had been meaning to start a new business when the right time and opportunity presented itself. That being so, let's get started on saving as much as possible from the very beginning, much before you venture forth.
- Understand the business well before you proceed. See where the leaks could be, where the money can come in and how exactly the business will work to earn you a profit.
- Start small but dream big. Work out your expenses and try to keep all the plans, budgets, production, market - all except orders - small until your business starts to grow and bring in money.
- Ensure that your personal assets are not in any way linked or tied to the business. This also goes for your family's assets. Decide on the kind of ownership structure you would like to have after detailed discussion on your needs with a professional and your family.
- Get your hands dirty in the business. Get trained and go through every section understanding what each involves in terms of cost, effort, skill and time.
- Meet and talk to your target customers, other businesses or potential competition on how business has been, looking across the last 5 to 6 years.
- Get as many details as you can from the local chamber of commerce or other merchant associations.
- All details of your discussion, commitments and obligations of the current owner or the vendors and business partners should be put in writing. These are people you are going to deal with for the first time in this role, and also this is the first time you are going to run a business. There is not much scope for trial and error, and all the thought you've put into it should reflect clearly as contracts.
- Get to know the kind of human assets you would need in terms of skill and experience. Have a good team on board, and work on getting them involved.
- Know your obligations - as an employer, as a service provider / producer and as an entrepreneur paying commercial and other business-related taxes. Know your obligations to all stakeholders - the customers, the vendors, the partners, the regulators and the investors.
- Build a good and appealing buzz around your business and attract a lot of first-time customers. Have a good presence online. Showcase your product or service and yourself.
- Draw up a good business plan. That document itself will illustrate where you need to focus more, where your funds have to come from etc.
Once all this is done, you will know how to take all the necessary steps to ensure that you are ready for it and the time is right. So let's hit the entrepreneurial road!