How to start a small business is question most people ask everyday, but starting a business- no matter how small is a an uphill task. Most times, the capital is there but “How to Start” is a problem.
I happen to be a Pharmacist, the greatest challenge i have ever faced while doing my internship is how to start a business. My friends will always tell me, “we do not want to be a salary earner, lets think of starting up a business”. But after the whole talks, we still find out that its not something one can just dive into.
Therefore, we sat down to think of what is needed to start a business and we came up with these tips.
Choose a business you will want
Choosing a business is as important as the business itself. The success of a business starts with the passion you have for your business, Its Uniqueness and the input you are ready to make. Do not be compelled to join a business out of peer pressure or because you want your friends to now see you as an entrepreneur or call you CEO.
When i was still in school, my friend once told me about profits in poultry. I never liked birds, but, i joined the business because of my dreams of huge profits to come. The implication was that i lost the farm and lost my capital because i was not able to take care of the birds.
Example, you cannot choose to go into Fish Farming business if you are Hydrophobic ( water fearing).
Discuss your idea with someone
So many people are scared to the bone about talking to people about their business ideas because they might steal it – this is wrong. There are people you can trust, right? If you can trust them with other things, why not your business idea?
Telling someone about your idea will make you determined not to fail especially someone you admire. In other words, it will make you more responsible with the plans you make knowing that someone is watching. Sharing an Idea will also bring in more criticisms and better perspectives.
Finally, it is important to know the right ear to tell. Its not everyone you can tell about your idea.
You can also read what Jennifer have to say about the First five people to share your business idea with.
Try to know about the business
Knowing about a business may sound easy but it is more complicated than just the sound. E.g., Have you ever wondered why most people in Nigeria will stand in queue at the mall just to buy Shoprite bread when there are different brands of bread everywhere in the street?- there must be something special about the bread. knowing a business is not just knowing how to make bread, but trying to learn new things that can keep you in the business.
Furthermore, it also entails knowing where to source your raw materials at cheaper rate, knowing the group of people to target as a customer, what will make them why to buy your goods and also external factors such as societal, religious, behavioral or economical factors that may affect your business.
Have a business plan
A business plan defines what your business is all about, the goals you are making, your objectives and plans to reach your goals. It is very important to make plans based on your available capital.
Therefore, it is important to make your business plans as simple as possible. Avoid setting big goals that may be difficult to achieve. work within your capacity and available resources.
The structure of your business is another tool you have to consider when making a plan. The truth is, No matter how small a business maybe, it should have board of directors – it may not be formal or you may not need them to sit around table with cups of coffee. These are people you can entrust with some aspects of the business and ask them questions about it.
Do not take too long to start
It is important to do a proper survey about your business, it is also good to do market analysis and write business plans – but don’t take too long. Walt Disney – Co-founder of The Walt Disney company said, “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing”. It is always good to start a business when the zeal is still alive. But be careful not to be emotional and start without proper investigation.
“Knowledge without action is meaningless”- Abu Bakr. Don’t wait to have the whole ideas in the world. It will never work until you start doing it. “A man would do nothing, if he waited until he could do it so well that no one would find fault with what he has done.” — Cardinal Newman . Allow yourself to make the mistakes and learn from it.
Invest only what you can afford to loose
It’s unwise to test the depth of a river with both legs, always try it with one leg. Being an entrepreneur is a risk on its own. Business is an institution that is governed by both external and internal factors, therefore, there is no guarantee to success. A beautiful business plan is not a guarantee that a business will survive, So is also, a huge capital.
Therefore, Start as small as you can and grow. The advantage is that you learn new tricks about the business and how to maximize profits before investing big. In addition, if the business fails, you can easily walk away with a smaller loss.
Greed is totally different from taking risks!!!
Focus on your goal
Most businesses fail when Entrepreneurs don’t know How to focus, it is the driving force of every business. It is easier to focus if you can give yourself tasks everyday to achieve before the end of the day and eliminate all forms of distractions that will stop you. I will advise you make a To-Do-List each day in order of their preference.
Business is always tough at the starting phase but the only thing that can keep you focused is to always remember why you started at first. Remind yourself everyday of your goals and never get discouraged. Let the endpoint of all your actions be towards the goals you have set for your business.
Give your business time
Business is not one of your Merlin stuff – Its not magical. It is something that grows. Business requires nurturing and patience. Don’t expect to bag millions in the first few months of your business.
Focus your attention more on building a business with worth rather than success. Albert Eisten once said, ” Try not to become a man of success ,rather become a man of value”. If you can be patient to create a business with value, success will come naturally.
Don’t fold your hands – Work
Nothing grows on its own, something must nourish it. Hard-work is the vitamins and minerals of a business. Don’t sleep and expect a business to grow on its own, there must be inputs from you.
The most important work you can input in your business is publicity and advertisement. Create a social media for your business, have an online presence and tell people what you do. There is a platform where you you can learn about digital marketing and building an online customers
You can also pay for advertisements if you have the money or rather print T-shirts or face caps with your business name, print flyers and share to your neighbors and also talk to everyone you can talk to about your business.
Learn from others in same niche of business
There are so many lessons you can learn from a competitor if you are humble and observant enough. Competitors are not true enemies always as we presume.
Most times we see people in the same niche of business with us as terrible people, but the truth is that these are people that can decide the faith of our business. Try at every point in time to know what your competitor is doing. Pick the attributes they have that is bringing them success and learn from their failures.
Make sure you are Liquid
Liquidity in an ordinary language means, having cash or what can be converted to cash easily. A business has latent period for growth. During this period when profits has not started coming, your business may require financial inputs from you. if eventually, you have all your earnings in a business, the business may find it difficult to survive. Profitability grows a business but Liquidity sustains it.
The Benefits – How to start a small business
- Independence. Entrepreneurs are their own bosses.
- Financial gain. Entrepreneurship offers a greater possibility of achieving significant financial rewards than working for someone else.
What you Need – Top 10 Reasons to Run Your Own Business – Inc.com Update
10 Steps to Start a Small Business
- Step 1: Do Your Research.
- Step 2: Make a Plan.
- Step 3: Plan Your Finances.
- Step 4: Choose a Business Structure.
- Step 5: Pick and Register Your Business Name.
- Step 6: Get Licenses and Permits.
- Step 7: Choose Your Accounting System.
- Step 8: Set Up Your Business Location.
I always advice people to start a business as an alternative while still on your job. The advantage is that your job will sustain you and your business while waiting for it to grow. Secondly, if your business fails, you will have something to fall back to.