One of the trickiest question to ask in business is "How do I start a business?" It seems like there are a lot of possible answers to this question yet you ask "Which one of answers is right for me?"
I have tried starting a lot of business in my lifetime and, I am not ashamed to say, a lot of them failed. You know that feeling where you really believe that this is a very lucrative business so you invest so much time, money and effort to it only to find out that it was not meant to be? I know many of you may have felt that same way I did. I know some of you are now nodding and saying in their mind "Been there.
In my seminar, I teach people the 3 simple steps to financial freedom: 1] Budgeting 2] Paying off debt 3] and Setting financial goals. I realized that many of my participants are looking at starting a small business (or side-line as what most Filipinos call it) to add up some extra income so they can keep up with their budget – actually that should not be the case but we will talk about that some other time.
What I tell them about starting up a business usually blows up their bubbles. I tell them that in business it's all about ability and capacity .
Ability is your skills and knowledge in business. This can be something that you learned from school or books, etc. This can also be something that you learn from experience. The down side of this is that not all business is the same and not everything you think may be lucrative is true. Check out my article on How Small Businesses Can Market Their Products and Services and hopefully you can get more insights there.
Capability is time and money. Remember that in business you have to focus more on income generating activities. Anything that will not generate income you have to either let someone else do it or stop doing it. So this means that it will be a challenge to be employed and at the same time expect to succeed in your business – you can not serve two masters at the same time. Money is another thing that you need to consider. Always take note that when you start a business, statistics tells us that it will take about 6 months to see a break even on your investment. After which you need another 6 more months to actually measure the success of your business. What does this mean? This means that you need to have a total ready investment for one whole year.
Frustrating? I told you I'd burst your bubbles.
So how exactly do I start a business? Well, I would say it's a mixture of hard work and focus strategy. There is no pure luck in business. Money will not just come knocking at your door – you have to go earn it.
So I will not really leave you hanging, here are some of my thoughts:
- Do some research on what the consumers want in the market. Do not just start a business because you believe that is what people need. Start something that others already want and are looking for. Although in sales and marketing it's also about arousing interest and creating a need, you do not start a business so you can create a need – think about what others already need now and what others are looking for but could not find.
- Look at how much money you need for the business. Based on my mistakes in the past, I would go for less cost and more income. Instead of focusing on spending too much the first time, why do not you focus on generating income first? Go for low cost. Have your office in your home. Hire a virtual assistant (I can tell you how this work if you are interested) to help you with back office work and some administrative stuff. Go for online marketing to promote your business (again I can help you with this). These are some ways that you can do without spending too much on rents and salies.
- Look at how much time you need to invest. You do not just calculate your monetary investment; you also have to check if you have enough time to invest. If you have a job working 8 hours a day, how many hours more can you invest without compromising your time for family and self? You can not stretch yourself too much or you'll break and you will get disorganized and soon lose your business, your 8 hour job, your family and then yourself.
There it is. Please let me know if this has been helpful to you. I would love to hear your comments and reaction to this article.