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Starting Your Own Business

Tips on starting your own business

Basic Ingredients

To start any new business you would need the following ingredients; determinations to succeed, motivation, discipline and to never give up no matter how hard your business goals look to others. Be decisive, no matter if your decision is right or wrong error some error can be made and this is one way to learn.

View for a profit

Your new attitude in your new business should be “profits are better than wages.” You must love profits and be willing to accept that your skills are valuable to the market place otherwise you are not in business but rather you may have a hobby. The point is that if you underestimate your skills and knowledge market will punish you. If you cannot adopt this attitude than you may be better off being an employee as this is one of crucial elements of entrepreneur’s philosophy.

Skills and licenses

Do you have required skills to start your business and would your need a license for your business activity? Accepting jobs for which you do not have competencies is a common reason of business failure and can be regarded as unethical behaviour.

Unique idea

The market rule is: ‘More unique you are less competition you will have.’ Have a unique name, logo, and slogan. Set your advertising philosophy e.g. if your business is related to internet your advertising should be by using internet advertising services. There are generally two types of advertising: networking (word of mouth) and marketing you should have combined strategies to cover both areas.

Long term look

If you don’t have a long term look of at least 5 years you are already determined to fail in your business. You also must have a long term look about your industry and follow market trends so e.g. if market wants movies on DVD’s and you want to start your business of selling new movies on VHS tapes.

Competition

Questions you should ask yourself before you start: Who will be your mayor competitors? What strategies they use? What are their prices? Are my services or products feature better than competitors? How can I differentiate my product from my competitors? You can learn so much from your competitors but whatever you do not be a copy-cat as this is unethical and may be prohibited by law.

Business structure

What business structure should I have: sole trader, trust, partnership or company? This is a complex question and the answer depends on each individual circumstances. I strongly suggest asking for advice from an accounting expert as having a right or wrong business structure will be one factor to determine your business succeeds of failure.

Get a professional advice

If you are starting business which will have a turnover over e.g. 500k in the first year than please stop reading this text and find an expert accountant specialized in the area of your business. If your turnover is not going to be this high in the beginning than still finding a good accountant or tax agent is another crucial thing for your start. If you have a good accountant you should treat him as a valuable asset of your business and try to create long term relationship view from the start.

Business failure

The most common reasons for business failure is not having sufficient skills to run your business and this skill has nothing to do with your tradesman or industry skills and competencies.

Anther reason is not having proper business records or not having any records. By having a sound bookkeeping procedure in place you are taking control of your business otherwise your business has control over you.

Relying on a wrong advice can be fatal, so e.g. if something worked well for your friend or relative the same thing can destroy your business as your circumstances are different.

Having control over your budget and spending is a must. If your expenses are greater than income you are creating losses. For people who have sound budgets in place this means to stop and review their strategies and for people who run their business without any budget controls in place this does not apply as they have no idea who is running their business and how.

Always ask

Do not be afraid to ask even if your question is a very simple one. There are many places you can ask you questions such as Tax Office, business associations and of course your accountant/tax agent.

Risks and insurance

Generally it is said: ‘If you do not risk you do not profit’ but I would add ‘If you did not take your relevant insurance please do not take any risks. Your professional indemnity insurance will generally tell you for which areas of your business you are covered and which areas are not covered. Taking risk without having a sound insurance in place may be a new definition of the word ‘stupidity’. So take business risks but take insurance first.

Take your first step – register ABN

Online Tax Agent can help you to take your first step and jump-start your business by registering you for an Australian Business Number.

5 Ways To Get MORE From Your Business By Doing LESS!

The life of an entrepreneur is one heck of a life, wouldn’t you agree? From the incessant quest to make a significant contribution through the creation of innovative products/services, to the ever present fear of failing. The entrepreneurial life is very overwhelming, more like joggling too many balls in the air. In a rather funny way, the odds always seem to stack up against we entrepreneurs. What then shall we do; give up our entrepreneurial quest and settle for less? Or march on courageously despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles? I’m sure you would most likely agree with me that the second option is our surest bet as entrepreneurs and the very essence of the entrepreneurial spirit. You did not choose to become an entrepreneur because the journey is easy, NO. You chose to become an entrepreneur because the journey is worth it. Entrepreneurship is not something you can fake your way through; you are either doing it right or not doing it right simple. There are no ways around it.

So are you still on the right path as an entrepreneur?

It’s because of this singular reason that I offer the following 5 ways to simplify your life as an entrepreneur and help you get more from your business by doing less.

Enjoy!

1.Follow purpose: Dr. Myles Munroe was 100% on point when he made this statement; “when purpose is unknown, abuse is inevitable.” Most entrepreneurs complicate their lives and seldom find fulfillment in business because of the singular fact that they are ignorant of the purpose of entrepreneurship. You see, there’s no way you can enjoy a journey that you began with a wrong step. Entrepreneurship is never about ‘getting’ (accumulation of wealth) but about ‘giving’ (creation of value). Business is not a money making venture but a value adding venture. I will never cease to re-iterate this fact no matter how unpopular it might sound, most especially in a country like mine -Nigeria.

In all the success stories ever told about most iconic entrepreneurs in the world such as Google founders; Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Wal-Mart founder; Sam Walton, Sony founder; Morita Akio, General Electric founder; Thomas Edison and so on, one thing has remained universally true about them; they all set out to build SIGNFICANT businesses – companies that will stand for something special (uniqueness) and will make their profit only by adding value to those they serve (usefulness). Little wonder their businesses are world acclaimed companies.

Take it or leave it, your entrepreneurial life will never be less complicated (simplified) if you keep focusing on the financial rewards of entrepreneurship. To put money first as the sole purpose of your entrepreneurial journey is to choose to fail out rightly from the very beginning!

There is no use battling with nature’s law. Mankind has continuously broken new grounds in science and arts not because it argued with nature, but because it chose to explore and understand nature by conforming to its laws. You stand a more better chance of succeeding as an entrepreneur if you live a life of purpose and align your business to the purpose of entrepreneurship.

2.Pursue Vision: life will always be complicated for the entrepreneur who has no idea of where he/she is going and what he/she really wants to achieve. In following purpose as was mentioned above, entrepreneurship is about creating something really special (unique/different). What is that thing you want your company to always be remembered for? This is what having a vision means. A vision is a picture or imagination in the mind of the entrepreneur about an idea. It’s about using your life to bring into reality an idea you are so passionate about. This idea can be in the form of a product or service you want to offer the market. However, because people don’t pay for products/services, rather they pay for solutions to their problems. This implies that, unless your product/service is solving a particular problem in the lives of your customers, you’ve failed already as an entrepreneur in your quest to create something truly special. As I’ve written in a previous article on How to build the greatest company in the world, your being special (uniqueness) must make a positive impact (usefulness).

So here’s the big question you’ve got to answer in order to simplify your life as an entrepreneur and get more from your business by doing less; what problem is your products/services solving for people? In other words, what do you and your company want to create in the lives of your customers? The answer to this question should be your major focus as an entrepreneur. This is what it means to pursue vision. Stop going about chasing several things. Focus on one thing. Stephen R. Covey was right when he said; “Your job is to keep the main thing as the main thing”. A business that doesn’t stand for something will eventually fall for anything. This is one of the core philosophies we are trying to instill into the minds of entrepreneurs. In order to get more from your business, you must learn to do less by standing for something (being different) and adding value to those your business serves based on what you stand for (making a difference).

3.Embrace Passion: for entrepreneurs who focus on their core gifted areas, doing less will always yield more. Nothing can be more enriching to the life of an entrepreneur and beneficial to the success of a business than focusing on what you naturally love doing – passion. Your passion is the same as your strength. These are those activities you naturally enjoy doing effortlessly. I’m sure by now, you should be tired of hearing this statement; “You can never be successful doing what you endure rather than enjoy.” This is just the simple truth about life and business success. Success is a natural outcome of unleashing your passion. It is the result of an unwavering dedication to the pursuit of our true calling as human beings. Many entrepreneurs underestimate the effect of passion in building a successful business. To show you how powerful embracing passion can be, here’s a revealing study of a group of businesspeople who took two very different paths after graduating from college.

A study of business school graduates tracked the careers of 1,500 people from 1960 to 1980. From the beginning, the graduates were grouped into two categories. Category A consisted of people who said they wanted to make money first so that they could do what they really wanted to do later – after they had taken care of their financial concerns. Those in category B pursued their true interests first (passion), sure that the money would eventually follow.
What percentage fell into each category?

Of the 1,500 graduates in the survey, the money-now category A’s comprised of 83%, or 1,245 people. Category B risk takers made up 17%, or 255 graduates.

After 20 years there were 101 millionaires in the group. 1 came from Category A (the money-now graduates), and 100 from category B (the risk taking graduates).

The study’s author, Srully Blotnick, concluded that “the overwhelming majority of people who have become wealthy have become so thanks to work they found profoundly absorbing…. Their ‘luck’ arose from the accidental dedication they had to an area they enjoyed.”

Source: ‘making A Life, Making A Living’ by Mark Albion

The story above clearly says it all. Lucked up within each of us is a gift, talent or strength that was deposited in us at the point of creation which was given to us to be used for the benefit of humanity. This is why whenever you find yourself in any activity in which you endure rather than enjoy, you keep feeling empty and frustrated irrespective of the material rewards such activity might provide. So learn to embrace your passion for therein lies the answer to getting more from your business by doing less.

4.Empower People: there’s a limit to what only one person can do. If you are running your business as a one man show without enlisting the help of other gifted people, you would end up complicating your life and can never stand a chance of getting the best from your business. You see what you must realize is this; one is too small a number to achieve greatness. The fact that you own the business doesn’t mean you possess all the talents, skills or knowledge required to successfully run the business. A very simple way to grab this fact is taking a look at the way y our body works, the body is a composition of different parts all working synergistically with every part playing its own role in making you a total human being. Imagine the heart trying to play the role of the hand all in the name of wanting to be the main boss of the body. The end result is quite obvious, calamity. Likewise, the same is true in business.

Your job as the an entrepreneur and the owner of your business is to critically evaluate all the key areas of your business and then look for the right set of people to occupy and function in each of these key areas you’ve identified. You must therefore begin to groom a team of highly gifted, skilled and knowledgeable people who would complement you and your business as it is quite obvious that you can’t do it all by yourself. One of the reasons why most entrepreneurs hesitate in empowering their people is due to insecurity. Most entrepreneurs especially in my country Nigeria believe in controlling all aspects of their business because they do not trust those whom they have employed to work in their business. So they end up prying their nose into every area of their business and trying to be Alpha and Omega of their enterprise.

Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not in any way suggesting that you don’t be in the know as regards the operations of your business, No. My point is quite simple; get those who are better than you in certain areas of your business and empower them to use their uniqueness to enrich your business. There is what I can do better than you and there’s what you can do better than me, together we can both pull our individual talents, skills and abilities towards a greater purpose which we would never have been able to achieve alone. Meaning, you cover up for my weaknesses by focusing completely on your strength and I cover up for yours by equally focusing on my strength as we collectively pursue a common goal, vision or purpose. So, to get more from your business, learn to do less by finding and empowering talented people whom you can delegate those things that bore you to nuts.

5.Leverage Technology: in the whole of human history, I personally think this is the best time to be alive. Never before have we humans been so interconnected globally as a result of the advent of Information Technology. Imagine a world where all humans could be reached just by sitting at a place and working on a computer? Imagine the possibility of reaching several millions of people all at the same time with the same message being passed from one main source? Imagine having to compete with the giants of your industry on the same platform – the internet, without any fear of being eaten up alive? The list is endless. The point I’m trying to make is this; technology is an amplifier. It basically takes a small thing and blows it up. How do I mean?

One of the key features of Information Technology (IT) is its ability to enable people and businesses meet one particular need through diverse means. Take for instance a local shoemaker in Nigeria whose business is making and selling locally handmade shoes. With a website, this small business can automatically become a big player online making and selling shoes not just locally anymore but now globally as a result of leveraging the power of the internet to reach out to more people who has similar needs for locally handmade shoes but not physically situated in the same locality as the business. That is, the company can now afford to sell to walk-in customers as well as unknown customers online thereby meeting one need (selling handmade shoes) through diverse means (offline and online sales). In other words, it makes you get more by doing less.

Home-Based Business – Part Two in a Series – Choosing A Home-Based Business – What Are Your Options?

The concept of a Home Based Business has been around since the dawn of time and they are now more popular than ever before.

This is mainly because of:
1. people want more control over their income
2. the possibility of lower overheads/business costs
3. freedom of choice with regard to lifestyle.
There are many different types of Home Based Business and we will discuss a few of them here.

When you’re operating a Home Based Business you’re basically going to do one of two things: sell a product or sell a service (if you’re smart you will combine both into one business!)

Sell a Product
Product – your choices are to make/source your own or sell someone else’s product. This could be anything from food, clothing, flowers, gifts, games, toys, art, plants, or craft, to name just a few.

You could make your own products – many successful businesses started out as a simple cottage industry at home. Visit local markets, search online, read local newspapers and/or industry magazines for ideas.

Or you can source the products either locally or from overseas. Attend a trade show for your industry, read industry magazines. It is probably easier to become a distributor than to import a product yourself, but again it depends on your experience in the field.

Sell a Service
Service – use an existing skill you have, or learn something new. Think carefully if you enjoy this activity, is your skill level sufficient, can you expand your knowledge or skill level. Is there another skill you can add that will make you more valuable to your customers?

Service can include anything you can do for someone else and is only limited by your imagination. Some examples are, gardening, accounting, consulting in many different areas, business coach, personal training, house cleaning, computer technician, interior decorator, architect, pet minding/walking – the list is endless and don’t be put off by the fact that someone else may already be doing it – you could do it better or simply be better at finding customers or provide superior customer service. So, where could this all go wrong?

Now, the Hard Part
One of the biggest problems with starting your own product or service home based business from scratch is that you also need to be good at all the other aspects of the business – you are effectively a “one man band” (of course you can outsource – but this can be expensive for a fledgling business). The main thing you need to be able to do is MARKET your business – you could be the world’s best accountant but if no-one knows you exist it will do you no good at all! So marketing, sales, administration, bookkeeping are just some of the skills you will need.

So, consider this when looking at starting this type of business as you can have the perfect business up and running and find yourself with no customers. This is where many small businesses fail. Now, you may also be good at these tasks or have the money to outsource – just make sure you include it in your Business Plan and Budget.

So, What’s An Easier Option For A “One Man Band” Business?

There are many other business models that you can consider that will offer much more support to you.

Franchising – this is a good way to buy a ready made business that comes complete with instructions! You will usually have great support from the franchisor in regards to setup, advertising and management. The downside is that Franchises are usually VERY expensive to invest in – a McDonalds license for example will set you back over a million dollars! Yes, there are cheaper franchises around, but really anything less than $100,000 is probably not going to generate a huge income.

Direct Selling Organisations
Direct Selling is a method where products are sold outside of a traditional retail setting. The three main types of Direct Selling are Party Plan, Network Marketing and Door-to-Door Sales.

Most Direct Selling Organisations have one thing in common – they are Multi-Level-Marketing (MLM) businesses. They will have different compensation and marketing plans, different reward structures and methods of operation, each will have one main focus, but they will all have common aspects of their business models.

DSO’s will all generally require you to “join” the company, some will have a minimum amount of product you need to purchase over a period of time, most will require you to recruit or sponsor people into your business, for some this will even be a minimum requirement, and for some there will be an ongoing membership fee.

They all differ in the way their compensation plan works and you need to study this carefully. There will be things such as, product commissions on products you sell and also sales from your team, bonuses for achieving certain sales or recruiting targets, incentives which may include national or international sales conferences (either paid or not). Beware of what you are paying for, firstly in joining fees, product purchases (initial and ongoing) and other equipment needed to run the business plus rewards for your team and/or customers that may come out of your pocket!

It can be very hard to make money in a traditional MLM company: many people drop out without having made any money or even having lost money (or end up with a whole lot of the company’s product)!

(You will find a more detailed breakdown of Direct Selling Organisations in the next section of this series.)

So, do your research, look closely at different types of business. Think about your skills and maybe more importantly, what you enjoy doing. Write a list of businesses that you think may interest you, then write a list of pro’s and con’s for each type and see what you come up with. You make just find the beginnings of your success right there on that page!