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Considerations when Starting a Business

Lets face it, we all have that business Idea that is just waiting on the right moment to make your fortune. Have you ever heard someone say, "I came up with that idea first, if only I had done it I would be rich now".
Regardless of the idea, there is a great deal of work in getting any business off the ground and unless you have the drive to do it, then you need more than just an idea.

A great idea can fail just as easily as a bad idea, its you that makes the difference, and we often over estimate our own level of commitment and under estimate the work involved.

Things to consider

Im sure you have heard it all before:
- Start your own business and start making money for yourself not the man.
- Work for yourself and be in control of what you do and when.
- If you have your own business you can make thousands of dollars if you learn how to do it.
- Think about the guy who invented the drink umbrella, he is raking it in, I will do the same.

Well there is a little bit more to it than getting a business name, setting up and account and start working. Firstly and probably the most important thing you need is passion. Quite simply this isnt something you can fake, or force yourself to do.
Sure for the first few months you can push yourself to get out of bed and get going, but after a year of struggling with all of the unexpected tasks, late nights, unrewarding unpaid work, and additional costs that you never knew existed, can you still keep it up?

Studies and Stats:

"According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, more than 60 percent of small businesses cease operating within the first three years of starting"

"Many thousands of small business owners might be entrepreneurial by nature and find themselves getting carried away with the romance of owning their own business"

"There's an Australian attitude of, 'Running a business -- how hard can that be?'"

Reference: Huffington post

So what should I do?
It boils down to passion and drive to continue, if you are going to start your own business then there are a few key points that you have to know and fully understand:

You will most likely not make real profit in the first year.
If you are full time employed right now and you want to quit and start a business but cover the income you currently have, there is a chance you will fail unless you have a way of handling this.

Dealing with right and wrong is not that simple
The customer is correct (in the majority of situations), because if they are in your opinion not correct, then it is commonly because terms and conditions where not explained well enough from the start. Regardless you have to factor this in, and work with your customers. If you are very good at what you do, then your customers will not want to loose you.

Go the extra mile
I hear from so many business start ups how they are going to provide their service, "this will be the price and this is what they get", full stop.
Unfortunately this will not work, unless you have a product or service that a client cannot get anywhere else, (and even in that situation you will be loosing revenue).
In short, business is so competitive (most so than ever before), you have to make sure you are offering something that provides real value for money that stands out. Most of all you have to make sure your customers want to recommend you and come back, so remember every client is a person with a story and needs, understand it and help them as much as you can.

Prepare to work for free
Yes thats right, the sheer amount of work that is required to just keep your business going is a major overhead.
Your accounting, advertising, marketing, staff, customer enquiries, Estimates, Quotes, and the list goes on.
You will not be paid for this, you will be working late into the night to get it done, this is the nature of owning a business today, its not easy at all.

Strategies and Planning
Be realistic, the glass half full approach could leave you in grief, by all means be positive, but be realistic as well.
Before you start your business, do your homework, check that a need exists for your service or product that will support you.
What about the area?
Will it support your business or do you have to travel?
Can you get by with little income until you business is working properly?
Any money you use and invest during the start up will take some time before its returned by profits.

Are you a happy person and like talking to people?
If not, employ someone who is or get a partner or spouse in your business with you that is. This is very important, a great many people who are really good at what they do, are not great with customer relations.
Make sure you have a person with you who is, this makes the difference as people what to talk with someone who is personable and able to communicate well.

Process and Structure
With your business processs make sure they are flexible and cater for potential exceptions.
If you are selling something make sure you have a process to deal with warranty, have the wording and procedures ready to go, advertise it to your customers and be ready to cater for situations that will not be standard.
Make sure your clients will be satisfied with the end result.

Be Realistic
There are hundreds of people already selling products and services, many of these have marketing teams, graphic artists and business strategists working to make it viable. This does not mean you cannot do it, it just means you have to be realistic, plan it out, come up with complementary products, find out what your customers actually want, and offer something unique that makes you standout.

System and Automation
Setup your business solution to suit your business now, get the software solution you need, but keep it simple and dont get sucked into a big system that you do not need.
You can always implement a larger system later when you have the time and resources to handle it.
However, anything that you can do to automate your procedures, customer bookings, orders and sales is a massive advantage and will lead to more time that you can spend working with your customers.

You will not have any, particularly for the first year.
I have heard the phase many times "when 5pm comes I turn off my phone" etc.
This will not work for you, you have to be available if needed, that is not to say you have to work 24 hours a day, but at least have a method that your customers can contact you out of hours in case of an emergency. How you handle this will directly reflect on your customers satisfaction, which in turn relates to business success.

Finally Just Remember This

Not everyone can run a business, regardless of how much you want it, it still boils down to your character and truly knowing yourself.
If you want to have a successful business, you have to go the extra mile all the time.
Owning a business is a massive amount of work that has no knock off time, its unfair, its complex, its expensive, its bureaucratic and it will make you question why oh why did you ever do it. But if you persevere then one day it will pay off, it just takes time and a great deal of commitment.

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