By Chellie Mejia, B.Sc.
Being an entrepreneur is a dream for so many people. The idea of being your own boss and working in a field that you’re interested in and passionate about is a luxury that many don’t get to live in their 9 to 5. The truth is a lot of new businesses fail within the first three years. So I thought I’d share five key tips for planning a successful start to your entrepreneurial journey.
1. Think it through. The first thing you need to figure out is whether being an entrepreneur is right for you. Every successful business owner I know works above and beyond the 40 hour work week and more conventional jobs. There are, of course, benefits to being your own boss. You can put your own ideas into motion, make decisions that define the course of your company, and enjoy the limitless potential to earn more. So take your time and think it through. Make sure you’re the kind of person who likes to give yourself challenges taking on a new project and sees possibilities where others see problems. Dreams play a role, but what counts is action, and if you’re willing to put in the work, it is absolutely possible to influence your destiny.
2. Put pen to paper and plan. Develop your ideas and your business plan.This is where the work begins. A dynamic business plan can help you determine the path you plan to take with your company, turn ideas into a tangible constructed business, and is even necessary in securing financing from lenders and investors. It can help in identifying weaknesses in terms of capabilities or local competition, and can communicate your vision to potential colleagues or partners. If you want to be a business owner, regardless of the industry, your first capability should be your product or service, but your second capability should always be business itself. If you don’t know what an Executive Summary or an Operational Plan is, Google it, research it, and learn! It’ll be the first of many hats you’ll have to wear as a small business owner.
3. Make it legit. Choose a name for your business – something unique and easy to remember – and register your business with the necessary levels of government. You’ll need a Business Number, which will serve as your account number for dealing with the government regarding payroll, taxes, and other activities. You can use this Business Number to open a business bank account so you can start keeping personal money away from business money. Do it right from the start to avoid potentially devastating complications down the line.
4. Money, money, money. Financing is often the most challenging aspect of starting a business, but there are so many resources available out there to get your business off the ground. The government provides financing to help start-up businesses, some that need to be repaid and some that don’t. There are also various private sector financing opportunities that you might be able to secure. Do your research and take advantage of the resources that exist.
5. Get to work! Put your dreams into action, and get ready to roll your sleeves up and delve right in! This is your moment to shine and to build an empire out of nothing! It won’t happen overnight, and it won’t happen without some sleepless nights and stressful moments, but if you’re willing to put in the work, the sky’s the limit! Good luck!
Chellie Mejia is a freelance writer, real estate developer and lifestyle coach.
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