Having a business of your own is pretty much most people’s dream! The overwhelming desire to be your own boss is one of the things most people can relate to. Although not everybody takes that leap of faith, owning and running your own business can be a reality. The common misconceptions about being your own boss are many, but most people believe you will work at your own pace and be answerable to nobody except yourself!
Although in theory this is true, you will have to hustle if you want to earn the money you will need to survive. Unless you have a set of highly sought-after skills which are in demand and you can name your own price, be prepared to put in the hard yards to bring home the bacon.
Ideally once you have set up your business processes things should run smoothly, therefore it is said that the first 2 years of owning your own business are the hardest. Owning your own business can be difficult and rewarding at the same time, much like parenthood but millions of people take that leap every year. These are some of the reasons many people dream of becoming business owners.
The idea of becoming a business owner may be perfect for a lot of people, but many are not aware that entrepreneurship places a demand on time, money, patience and intellect of the business owner.
By having a good knowledge of the requirements to start and maintain a business, a prospective business owner will be able to determine if that is the right path to follow.
Businesses place a huge demand on the time of the business owner. Therefore, the ability to satisfy this demand on your time is the limiting factor for most people. Time management skills are vital to managing a business and a full-time employment concurrently. It is difficult to manage multiple tasks and prioritize them appropriately, but failure to handle priority as required may alienate the business owner from customers and suppliers who are the two most vital components of a business.
A business owner should be able to handle tasks that are imperative and schedule others as required and this means you have to figure out how to prioritize business tasks and find time for personal matters in order to dedicate enough time to the business, even on a busy day.
2. Your Business Requires Ongoing Injections of Funds
Whether you are starting a business or buying an existing one, if you don’t start out with capital you will need some sort of ongoing income to keep up the business costs and your personal costs. Sadly, most people do start a business to solve their financial challenges and as a result of lack of capital, an unprepared entrepreneur may get bogged down with the ongoing money needed to run a business.
You simply cannot run a business without some sort of capital, even if small. Investing a lot of money in a business will not guarantee its success but starving a business of capital is a sure route to business failure as the business has no funds for running costs.
To avoid this ugly situation, a prospective entrepreneur should make a business plan to determine the budget required to start and maintain a business and this will give you an idea of what you need to keep yourself running week to week. Admittedly this may be a very small budget, but you will still need to eat, pay bills and have some sort of social life. This budget should be regarded as the bare bones minimum because several unexpected expenses will definitely arise that will shoot up the budget. Even if you have only yourself and you are working from home, you will still have expenses such as light, internet, website costs, food, stationery, telephone, vehicle expenses, equipment such as laptops and tablets.
This list below outlines some basic expenses a business may take into consideration while drawing a business plan.
- Business cards
- Company website
- Advertising costs
- Graphic Design
- Accounting Software
- A merchant account (if you are going to accept credit cards)
- Office Furniture
- Ongoing Bills (heat, light etc.)
- Equipment purchase or lease
- Phone and internet costs
- Business Email
3. You Will Need Patience and Resilience
They say that small business is not for the faint hearted and you will overcome many obstacles in business. It’s an occupational hazard and although you never really get comfortable with it, you learn to cope.
It is not just enough to have passion and ambition; there are times when it pays to aim aggressively while at other times, it’s all about patience and consistency. Just know that you will need to be resilient and don’t take any of it personally.
Have a read of the following facts, they will guide you in your quest to become master of your own domain.
a. Don’t expect an instant profit. A lot of business owners are discouraged when they do not end the day in profits. It will take some time and a sales to make profits and you may find that the first 12-24 months you are broke and asking for loans from family and friends. There are times when sales will be discouraging (and degrading) but you will get there eventually.
b. You will make mistakes. Although the mistakes that you make will cost you money, you should learn from them. Everyone does it, and it’s how you deal with the aftermath that will define you as a business person. Don’t keep doing the same thing if you are getting the same unwanted result. Mix things up a bit and in the end, you may become an expert in your industry. There are many success stories based on business owners who learned through trial and error and you will be one of them.
c. You cannot satisfy everyone. This is a good thing to remember when you are spreading yourself thin and working long hours every day. No matter how hard you work, you will not please everyone and the sooner you learn this and move on, the better off you will be. Some customers can be irritating, and they will go out of their way to make you miserable. You should not allow this to put you down because if you have done everything you can to rectify the situation, the problem may be more about them than it is about you and your product/service.
d. You can use situations of customer dissatisfaction to your advantage. Initiate market research to get a realistic idea of what customers actually expect from you and compare it to the type of customer-related challenges that are commonly found in your industry. You may find this information enlightening. Consider an encounter with a difficult customer as a valuable experience; do not take offense. Again, it’s not personal.
e. Some tasks can become boring. Everyone in business will be required to use some patience, even those whose business venture was previously a hobby. Although such people who transformed their hobby to livelihood do enjoy their daily job, the pressure of work and other business commitments such as getting the books right, advertisement and personnel management can become boring. Doing accounting and other admin tasks are boring but necessary. Put some time aside to keep these tasks in check.
4. Research your Proposed Business Niche.
It is not only the newest ground-breaking business ideas that are profitable, and some old ideas can also make you a profit. Once there is a decent demand for a product, it will usually sell and if somebody else has done all the research and work, you can jump on the bandwagon and get your business out there based on that.
As a matter of fact, it is not all unique ideas that turn a profit and sometimes the reason why nobody sells certain types of products and services is that there may be no demand for it. Due to the facts above make sure you do your research before you jump in.
Your research should entail facts like:
Who are my competitors and how much are they making;
Will I need startup capital;
Need for business license, insurance, and permits;
The type and location of retail space to rent;
The type of products and vendors to deal with;
Determine is a website is required;
Transactions and product delivery channels;
Cost of the business; and
Sources of business funding, among others.
5. Get Yourself a Solid Business Plan
The process of creating a basic business plan can be demanding but this is important and becomes more vital if you will need to seek financial backing from investors or financial institutions. But more than that, a business plan gives you a good overall look at your business so you can have road map to the type of empire you want to build. This can also be a fundamental way to test the level of interest you have in a business. If you cannot make up the time to do at a least a basic business plan, you are probably not ready to shoulder the responsibility of running a business. You can find some business plan templates online which you can download and use.
Bonus Advice – Surround Yourself with the Right People
Starting up your own business will have its challenging times. The last thing you need are the naysayers with nothing but negative energy to contribute. During these times you need to have people around you that are motivating, encouraging, and pushing you to keep going. Make sure you have a mentor, someone you can bounce ideas off of as well as ask advice of. It will be so very important to have your network of supporters when times get tough because they will… But fret not, with their support and your tenacity, you will get through it!