Last year at around this time I wrote an article about how you can go about starting a business. I’m sure that those that read the article may have started getting ideas about what they can do or how they can make their current ideas even better – unfortunately, for the majority it ended there. Those ideas remained ideas and nothing has been executed.
I always say ideas are cheap. Everyone, even the beggar on the street has ideas about how they can make their lives better but only execution matters. If things didn’t work out for you businesswise last year, it doesn’t matter; it’s a new year, wipe the slate clean and start afresh!
If you're going to start a business, start it properly. This means having a proper framework in place (accountants, templates for invoices and receipts etc.) and starting out with good intentions. Real business people don't start out in business with the sole purpose of making money: that's a very poor reason to start a business. Making money should just be a by-product of another goal.
You can start today. Grab a piece of paper and write out your execution plan for 2014. A few days ago I felt so inspired when I was out with my husband that in one hour at a café I mapped out my plan for the first half of 2014 and I have started executing it already. You can do the same – the difference between people who succeed and those poor timid souls that know neither victory nor defeat is ACTION! Let’s get to the nitty gritty:
SHOULD YOU CREATE OR INNOVATE?
If you're good at making something you very likely want to spend as much time as possible or at least more time making that product. Starting a business would allow you to spend more time making or creating the product you like and make a living at the same time.
“I’M TOO YOUNG” / “I’M TOO OLD!”
It's never too early to start a business and it's never too late either. Some people were born to be business people, it's in their DNA whilst others grow into enterprise; they find something they love to do and in the process learn that this passion can actually make them some money.
So, what should you think about before you start a business?
1. What you love to do and how you can turn it into a business
2. How much money, if any, you will need to begin with
3. How you will market your business
4. Your one-month, six-month and twelve-month business goals
You need to write all this on paper because writing it down is a sign of real commitment. How many items will you produce each month? What's your plan for growth? Most people never go beyond the "small business" stage because they don't plan. Planning is key.
You don't need a multi-page business plan to start, either. Personally I think long business plans are a waste of time and an even bigger waste of paper. Some people spend ages on the planning stage because that of course stops them from starting; starting is when things begin to get really hard.
A specific set of goals with realistic deadlines is all you need to embark on your business.
Now go off to register your business and let's get rolling. Struggling for business ideas? I'll give a broad set of rules for coming up with business ideas next week.
This article has made the assumption that most of you did not move to start a business, or those that did stalled along the way and I want to re-energise you. However, I also want to hear from those who have had modest or great success over the last year. Visit my Facebook page and leave me a comment or tell your story. All can participate facebook.com/GettingToWealthy.
"To think too long about doing a thing often becomes its undoing." ~ Eva Young
For 2 years until early 2014 I wrote a weekly personal finance and business column for Malawi's leading media house, The Times Group. The target is middle-class, working African women.
This is a reproduction of the articles that appeared in the weekend edition of Malawi News.