Five Tips to Start Your Own Business

Starting a business is a lot like starting a family. Once you take the plunge, you should be reasonably sure of sustaining it for a good period of time. Hence, before taking the plunge, it will be wise to plan a bit. Here are 5 important tips:

1. Do Your Own Research

Before deciding on the business you want to start, do some research. This should include the size of the market you are targeting, types of customers you will have, their tastes, and the extent and kind of competition.

In addition, a good study should also be done about the costs: rent, cost of raw materials, labour, and best location.

It is better that you do not rely on other agencies or friends for this. It is okay for big corporate organisations to hire research firms to do this, but you are not a big corporate.

Do not trust other people’s assessments before sinking your hard earned dollar on the business. Do your own digging, and planning.

2. Prepare a Business Model

A business model is a statement of your plan on how you intend to generate revenues, and how much profit are you aiming for. There are 5 main ingredients of a good business plan.

a) Size of the targeted market in terms of quantity and value
b) Cost of inputs and production
c) Expected revenues or total sales proceeds,
d) Rent, interest on capital, depreciation for furniture/machinery
e) Expected profits at the end of a quarter, or one year.

It is important that you prepare this business model with utmost honesty and accuracy, because the success of your venture will largely depend on the efficacy of your business model.

3. Stick to Your Plan

Once you have made all the plans and started the business, stick to the plan. Do not change course mid-way, and do not get discouraged by adverse results initially. Every business will initially encounter resistance, but if your plans are well made, your business is bound to succeed.

History is flush with examples of how some of the world’s most successful businessmen built great business empires by continuing to pursue their ventures despite initial setbacks.

4. Have a Plan B Ready

Even the best laid plans may sometimes go awry. Suppose an unexpected event – a natural disaster, a sudden shrinking of the market, a new invention totally replacing your product – happens, and your Business Model becomes unviable.

If such an eventuality happens, it would be foolish to continue the same trade and go on booking losses month after month. Better cut your losses, and put your Plan B into operation.

Plan B should be drawn up such that your losses are minimal, and you are left with enough capital to start afresh.

Do not forget that new circumstances will throw up new opportunities and your business career is by no means at an end. But you should have enough capital left, and your mental framework should not be burdened with the scars of failure, in order to take advantage of the new opportunities.

Therefore, it is crucial to know when to quit and start afresh. For this you should have plan B ready in advance.

5. Don’t Be Too Ambitious Too Early

Initially, it is always imperative to take small steps. The size of your operation should be strictly within your financial and physical capacity. It should be such that you should be able to manage it personally, in the initial stages.

You can’t depend on others to implement your plan carefully. You have to do it yourself.

For this, it is important to know your limits and confine the size of your business within it when you start. In the same vein, if you have to borrow funds to start the business, it must be within your repaying capacity, and the repayment schedule must be built into the Business Model from day one.