I always compare starting a business with having a baby. Although a newborn baby brings immense joy, the first few months can be very hectic especially for first-time parents. A newborn baby requires intense attention and care, as a start-up business does. In both cases, you will need to dedicate a lot of time, energy and resources in order to be successful.
Below are a few tips that have enabled us to succeed and will guide you in starting a world-changing business:-
1. Understand your WHY
History proves that the few people who succeed in establishing world-changing businesses understand the WHY behind their goal.
For example, Steve Job’s WHY in founding Apple Company was to challenge the status quo. As Gracious Roses, we believe in the immense potential in individuals and businesses. Hence our why is to graciously nurture individuals and businesses to enable them achieve the highest truest expression of themselves.
Once you understand your WHY, you will be more motivated to achieve your goals.
2. Have a business plan
Although it’s not a requirement to complete a business plan when starting a business, it’s definitely a good idea. With any endeavor, you get out what you put in and it’s no different with business; the more planning and research that you do at the start; the more likely you are to succeed.
One of the reasons why lenders require a business plan as a pre-requisite for financing is so that they can gauge how sustainable a business idea will be.
Having written a skeleton business plan (it was incomplete in most areas such as financial predictions), we always had something to fall back on whenever we felt confused by the diversity of the business environment.
The business plan has been a true road map keeping us on track and helping us avoid being tossed by other people’s ideas.
3. Delegate tasks
South African based entrepreneur Vusi Thembekwayo notes that one way of knowing you are a start-up is when you are a one-man business.
For example, you go to the customer, you deal with him, you go make the cookies then you take them to the customer.
You request him to pay and if he doesn’t you give him ‘attitude adjustment slap’ to make him pay.
If you want to run a company you must learn to engage other people as soon as possible and delegate some of the duties to them. Delegating minor tasks will give you the time and energy to work on the major tasks of your business.
4. Engage in professional advice
Most start-ups have limited financial resources, so the do-it-yourself route often seems like the best option.
Although the upfront costs may be reduced with this option, certain mistakes can lead to much higher longer-term costs and complications in the future.
For example, immediately after campus, I worked in a small company which was about 5 or 6 years old.
Everything was being run in an unprofessional way with no contracts or agreements. Though the company owners put enough resources, the company hardly paid its bills. The directors mainly supported the company with their own money.
What the directors didn’t know was that, because things were done unprofessionally, the employees didn’t feel secure and hence they were not fully committed in the company.
There was a time the company felt cheated by a marketing manager who was dismissed but continued to serve all the clients he had acquired when working for the company (the clients knew the marketing manager, not the company).
A company that had enough financial strength failed to stand on its own because of failing to do things professionally.
Engaging professional advice in key aspects of your job will be beneficial.
5. Be firm in your decisions but flexible in implementation
You will definitely encounter many obstacles in your entrepreneurship journey. One of the things we have learned is to be willing to change our methods as do our best to achieve our WHY as a company.
For example, when we started, we were very clear on the ideal business location for our company: it had to be up-town and near high regarded or known brands. We managed to secure a ‘perfect’ office space. After one year in business though, there was a falling out with our agent who had an office next to us.
Though we loved that place, we had to realize that what was most important for the business to thrive was a peaceful location. We found another place downtown in an environment supporting our mission and have been enjoying growth since then.
Always remember that the goal is to achieve your WHY. Be firm on the goal but flexible on the methods.
Bonus tip: Never Give Up
As I noted earlier, starting a business is like having a baby. Though a woman knows she or the baby may die from conception, labour and especially in the early years of its life, her strong desire to get a child wins over all possible threats. That should be the same for you, your WHY should be strong enough to give you strength to face all the challenges of starting a business.
For help in starting and running a business, please contact us via 0719 772 509 or 0711 641 626. Or email us via firstname.lastname@example.org. We are committed to graciously nurturing your business to roses.