It takes passion, courage and enterprising spirit to start your own business. Now that you are inspired to unlock your potential, are you ready to take the risk? It may be too dangerous for you to quit your job or gamble with the capital you struggled to raise; unless you understand the rules of the game.
Let me share the DOs and DON’Ts of small and medium scale businesses with you.
I am offering you golden rules of starting and running your own business, but I would be fulfilled if you could also share it with other people.
1) Plan before starting a business. Write a business plan. Outline what the business is about,how you will manage the business,how you will source for fund,how to share profit,expansion,selling out the business, etc.
2) Have a clear and achievable dream. Be sure of why you are starting the business,your goals and how you will make them.
3) Know your customers. Have a specific audience target,not trying to satisfy the public. Who are the set of people your product or service will satisfy most? The students, youth, elderly, workers,self-employed, unemployed, senior citizen, government worker, professionals, middle class,high-class, low-end earners, etc. Target your audience and design a means to reach them.
4) Register your business with the corporate affairs commission and other regulatory bodies in your area of business.
5) Brand your business. The name,image, colour, slogan plays a major role in attracting your potential customers. Brand your business name that will attract people,call their attention and explains the nature of your business. Like
Plates&Spoons Kitchen or Mama’s dish for a restaurant name,the name explains what the business is all about.
6) Network your business. Register to your local chamber of commerce,association and other trade organization. This will give you the opportunity to meet and share experience with other people in your area of business.
7) Open a separate account for your business preferably savings account ( No bank charges) but as the business grows, you may open other account such as Current account (Cheque account) because of its added service,but you will be paying for bank charges using this type of account.
8) Keep proper record: stock, income, expenses, profit, taxes, salaries etc. Financial document of your business is the result of how your business is doing. It is just like when you were in primary school, you collect report card after the end of a term and end of session. This card details the subjects you took and your grades. In business,your financial document is your report card,it details how your business is doing, it will give you sign whether you are on the right track or failing.
9) Encourage your employee. Give them bonuses, rewards, awards for excellent
performances; and they will do better.
10) Operate on an open door policy. Let there be free flow of communication and information within your organization and employee; give them the opportunity to partake in the decision making.
11) Advertise your business. Let your business be known to people by making adverts and commercials through print & electronic media,word of mouth, classifieds, etc. If you cannot afford the TV/Radio advert,online is the cheapest way of advertising your business through Social media network(Facebook,Twitter,blogs,forums, etc). You are wearing an advertised cloth, you are reading this post through an advertised gadgets, so what stops you from advertising what you have and want to give to people?
12) Promote your business. Advertise promotional offers and discount to your customers. Promotional offers, loyalty reward, discount sales, etc are kind of promotion that will increase your customer base and encourage your loyal existing customers to keep faith with you.
13) Save up for emergency. In business, unforeseeable events or accident do happen and in most cases lead to loss of capital. It is advisable to have an emergency fund account. Save up for the dry days during the rainy days.
14) Be informed. Keep abreast of happenings and event around your area of business. Read books and journals,listen to the media(TV/Radios, etc), subscribe to online post/blogs that relates to your interest. Information they say is power. Information is not only power in business, it is a driving tool to your business success.
15) Train yourself and your employee. Attend seminars, lectures, symposiums and conferences that will increase your knowledge in your area of business.
16) Keep good health. In my community,we have an adage that says: Ilera loro (Health is wealth). If you are healthy in mind and body, you have chances of doing fine in your business. Doing regular exercises, having healthy and balanced diet, taking fruits&Vegetables, stress free lifestyle and having fun with loved ones makes a healthy living and it will contribute to your business success.
17) Connect with your customers. Relate with your customers and let them know you value them. Remember them by faces, names and some positive things about them. Send messages to them during festive periods and holidays to make them know you remember them. It touches me a lot to receive these messages from my bankers, suppliers and other institutions that offer paid services to me. In the same way, I send these messages to my customers and it works.
18) Collect feedback from your customers. Get response from customers on how they feel about your product or service, how it satisfies them and how you can satisfy them more. You will also learn how to satisfy them more from their response.
19) Diversify. As your business grows and you are able to save enough capital aside your emergency fund, you are able to acquire assets, and there is positive cash flow, the next step to think about is diversification. Think big and grow big. It is always safe to have more than one source of income.
20) Don’t start big! You may kill the dream of staring the business if you have the mindset of entering the industry with a bang. If you have too much to start with,you may not achieve much.
21) Don’t start business you have little or no interest in. You will give up easily if the expected profit is not coming soon. Passion and interest prevail when money is not coming yet. Leave it to passion, persistence and skills. Money will catch up with man. Money has four legs, man has two legs.
22) Don’t start business when you have a capital consuming projects at hand. Temptation may make you borrow from your business capital to those projects,and you may not be able to refund it back to the business pocket.
23) Don’t start the printing of the business stationery, business cards and souvenir until you at least register the business name. You can register your business name or company with Corporate Affairs Commission or any other government bodies that regulates Business and Corporate matters in your country.
24) Don’t get too much loan ( If you must get one) but I suggest you avoid loan in starting a new business, you may take loan when the business is thriving and you want to expand your business. On the other hand, obtaining loan to start new business sets standard for new business owners on how to handle their finances responsibly.
In a nutshell, loan obtained must not formulate 100% of your start-up capital, you should raise some fund by yourself and get little loan to make the start-up capital. In my opinion, starting your own raised capital is the best.
Federal and State Governments do offer grants, loans and other financial support through different programme and initiatives to encourage entrepreneurship spirit. Find out in your local & State Government in your Country for these benefits.
25) Don’t invest all your start-up capital at a go. Earmark certain percentage to test run, do not assume your business will be successful from the start.
26) Don’t start new business when you are newly married and vice versa. If you want your business to succeed and you want you matrimony to last forever, please take this advice. Matrimony and Business are two factors that need a lot of attention at the early stage, and if the attention needed is not given, you may lose one of them and sometimes both. Do not start enter both marriage and business at the same time.
27) Don’t hire who you can’t fire. Do not hire on compassionate ground. That is why some Entrepreneurs won’t employ friends and relatives,unless they are reliable. Keep business away from friendship,if your friend is not able to deliver or he is not reliable,fire him. That is why you are the Boss!
28) Don’t spend the capital set aside for taxes, salary of employee and running of the business on any other thing.
29) Don’t have intimate affair with any of your employee. You may drag yourself into pool of troubles.
30) Don’t feel you can do it all alone. You cannot be perfect in all areas. Accountants, Business lawyers, Consultants are better in their area of discipline. It will save you a lot of worries and stress. They are out there to offer professional services.
31) Don’t be rigid. Give your employee the chance to open door policy. They may have brilliant suggestion or advice you least expect from them.
32) Don’t promise what you cannot give. Be honest with special promotional offer/reward. Customers want to trust you, they value your honest dealing. Nobody likes to be cheated. Offer only what you will give and you can give.
33) Don’t cut your price too low to beat out competitors, it may affect your profit. If what you are offering your customer is good and your price is not too high, they will patronize you. You can add value to attract your customers i.e special promotional offer, and other customer oriented services to attract your loyal customers instead of engaging in price war with competitors.
34) Don’t start more than one new business at a time. Focus your energy and resources on one business and make it grow before starting another new business.
35) Don’t give customers what they want, give them what they need. Imagine a person who wants employment but does not have adequate skill. What he wants is employment, and what he needs his skills. Do not give him employment(want), give him skills (need). If he is skillful,he will have more alternatives. He may employ himself or get employment with enough skills & knowledge.
Let them trust your ability. They know you are a specialist in your area of business and they respect your recommendation and opinion.
36) Don’t underestimate the value of advertisement. Print & Electronic media, Internet, social media network, newsletter, fliers, etc. are useful tool to drive your business to success.
37) Don’t set your mind to become a sideline player. If you do, you will not be disappointed,and that is exactly is who you are going to be.
38) Don’t be afraid of making mistakes,it is part of the success story. If you entertain fear of making mistakes, you will not learn, and you will not go far.
39) Don’t waste time. Do not waste time on bad meetings, negative associates and irrelevant discussions. The most valuable thing in the life and business is time, and it has to be used judiciously.
40) Don’t take risks that are not calculated. Though every Entrepreneur is a bookmaker(Gambler). You will take risks if you want to be successful, but the risk should be a calculated one. Think deeply before gambling with your decision, and consider possible absorber for the consequences, if your decision back fired. “Never test the depth of river with both feet in” Warren Buffet
I hope you find these rules resourceful. I would like you to join me in my mission of helping other people, by sharing these important rules.
Meanwhile, if you need more advice on starting your business or want to make contribution to this post, please do not hesitate to send private message to me Twitter or like my facebook page
You may also drop a comment below.
He is an entrepreneur, writer, barber and interior designer. Abiodun discusses and writes about entrepreneurship, leadership, business and economy.
He has interest in luxury, art, fashion, travel and technology.
Abiodun is passionate about sport, particularly football (soccer) and boxing.