On Friday night, I received a phone call requesting that I run this piece again. So here it is. Hope it helps
Starting a business is exciting! I would know – I have started several businesses in my short years on earth. There’s nothing as exhilarating and as beautiful as giving life to a new venture. In fact, those who have been at it for longer swear that there’s no better way to be wealthy than to be an entrepreneur. In fact, you’ve probably been preached to, or told to quit your job to start your own business and you may probably been considering it. And you’re right to. But before you quit your job to become an entrepreneur, here are a few things you should know first.
Be familiar with the 5Ws&H rule or if you will, principle
Why: Why do I want to start a business? Why do I need to start a business? Remember, the need to start a business far outweighs the “want” to start a business. Most businesses succeed because they are out to provide specific solutions. This is where you find out what kind of solutions are lacking in your environment and find a way to provide them. And while you’re figuring this out, you’ve got ask another “why?” question – why should they buy your product or service?
Who: To whom am I providing these solutions? This is where you outline your potential market. Demographic factors come into play here. Your typical factors include age, gender, marital status, race, education, income and occupation. Another “who?” to consider is the competition – “who are your competition?” What: is the cost of providing these solutions? Your cost includes the investment you put into developing your solution – finance, psychology, emotions, social, etc. What are you willing to give up for your success? Are you ready for the cost? Again, another “what?” question you may want to answer is “what is my unique selling point?” What differentiates you from your competitors?
Where: Where are they? Where your potential customers at? Are they offline or online? If they are online, where specifically are they? When: when do you launch your business? How: do I get my products and service to them? Technology has made life simpler for your consumers, don’t complicate it.
As much as you’d love to, you’re not going to know everything
Remember how shocked you were to realise that you had to learn on the job, despite the fact that you had a decent education in college? Well, that’s sort of how business is. You’re probably not going to know everything at your first start, and you’re probably not going to know everything 10 years down the lane. What’s important is that you know what’s most important to you and to your business, and to learn to be opened to learning.
Your environment and your customers
Yes, I remember! I said you’re probably not going to know everything at first. But I did say it’s important that you knew what’s important to your business, right? Your business environment, as well as your customers, is important to your success. Take the time to know how your industry operates, what moves and shakes it and how your customers think. If you’re proposing a service, you want to know why they need the service and why they should part with their hard-earned money to buy it.
Be intimate with governing laws
You want to be duly and thoroughly informed about your country’s laws – tax laws and all laws that regulate industry you’re operating in. You need to understand the regulations you need to follow, the licenses to procure and taxes you will pay for your new business. It’s quiet tempting to want to skip this part, especially in Nigeria, but it is safer for you to not skip this part. Do some initial research into these and go ahead and consult with a lawyer and accountant to confirm what you got for research and to help structure your business, in compliance with the law. But why do I need this did you ask? Well, other than the fact that your business is structured in compliance with the law, you want to know that you’re paying the correct tax to the government (multiple or double taxation comes to mind here); you want to make sure you’re charging the correct amount of taxes your business is into – you don’t want to be arrested for defrauding your customers; and three for your peace of mind. Starting a business is hard enough; you don’t want some technical legality getting in your way later on.
You will fail and it’s okay
Even with the best business plan in the world, you are still probably going fail. But what’s important is you don’t let the failure crush you. Starting a business is like learning to walk, you take the first few steps and you find yourself smacked down the floor. Like a baby learning to walk, pick yourself up and keep walking until you footings are sure, and measured.