Everyone can start a business to the degree of their abilities. Even when you are gainfully employed, you can start an income earning business that is not in conflict with your employer’s line of business.
There are two areas in which you can start a business. You can start a business selling your skills and services or start one selling physical products. There is the option of investing which was presented in my last article with the primary theme ‘Invest’. Technology has also made it possible for us to decide to have our businesses online or physical or both.
Most developed societies have people keeping more than one job. Many career persons also have an additional source of income which enables them do more with their finances. Developing an enterprise spirit is the way forward for all of us. Many graduates may not find paid employments but they can most certainly start their own business, selling something be it products or services.
What Do You Need to Start a Business
You have several options: You could choose to partner with friends, families, associates or someone already in business, you could decide to go solo as a Sole Propriator or you could become a freelancer.
Getting Money to Do Business
Many people used to find this challenging but their have been several improvements in many countries that have made accessing funds for business easier. Most used to rely on their meagre income, financial support from families and friends etc; but now a days, their are several grants available for business online. These include The Tony Elumelu Foundation, Lagos State Government start up funds, loans from foreign investment companies, quick loan platforms, etc. Use any of the available search engines to explore your options. You could also go to microfinance banks and Bank of Industry to access loans for agriculture and entertainment. Once, I also learnt about some igbo business men who gave short loans to small businesses although the interest are high. You may be able to find some Venture Capitalists who may want to invest. Generally, just do not allow money to stop you from starting your own business, period!
Deciding What to Sell
Whatever business you get into, you are welling up something. Please make up your mind what you want to sell. Make sure that whatever you decide to sell is in your area of strenght. This does not necessarily have to be what you learnt in school. It could be your leisure such as football, dance, culinaries, agriculture, farming, designing things, making clothes, teaching children, poetry, repairing electronics, etc. Ofcourse, it could also be what you learnt through vocational training or formal education. Identify what key skills you have and what service to provide or what main business product you want to sell.
In addition, please also ensure you identify your sales channel, who needs your products and services, the best place to find them and how best to present it to them. When you have done so, take the following steps:
Write a Business Plan or an Outline of it
A business plan enables you have a written presentation of your proposed business, including your proposed products, anticipated income projections, start up budget, human resource and other resource requirements, sales and marketing plans, cash flows etc. You are also able to outline any risks and their mitigants.
With a well presented documentation of your business plan, you can approach investors and financiers to fund your concern.
Ensure you know and attend to any statutory issues affecting your proposed business. For instance, if you wish to open a pharmacy, make sure you have the approval of the Pharmaceutical Society. Do the same with other opportunities you decide to create.
In spite of all of the above, their is another requirement for business and enterprise without which you cannot do anything. This is your personal drive, courage and confidence. No school can help you with that. If you lack drive, passion and a keen interest in what you wish to pursue, it will not be a success. You must believe in yourself, your business, your opportunities. Please, do not even start without the confidence that you will succeed. This last factor is argueably your single most important success factor. You cannot achieve the previous elements without this which is probably 80 percent more important than the others. I am talking about faith. It is not a religious issue but the confidence and believe that you will thrive. Please do not mix this up with pride or arrogance which could make you not learn or seek advice.
I used to have a friend who did not believe she could run a business even though she had more qualifications at the time. Without confidence and interest in business, you will not be able to do business. So, do whatever you can to build your confidence. Get a mentor, get a coach, get a person with drive involved, listen to motivational speakers, just make sure you do something about yourself. Staying humble all the way to the top.
When you do begin your business, please be serious with it. Do not open and close shop disjointedly. Ensure you have products and services in steady supply or your client base will dwindle or altogether, not grow. Develop strategic plans for ensuring you always have stock and /or solutions ready for your clients. Ensure contineous sales and marketing. That’s the only way to keep your service going. Do not forget the God factor, he makes it all work.
To wrap on this piece, let me remind you of its goal – to help you always think of growing your money so that it can do more. Starting your own business is one of such ways.
For more support on managing and incubating your business, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great weekend!