Many Filipinos love to have a business of their own but are always hesitant to take the risk. That is OK, nobody likes risk anyway. I once did a survey among employed people. I ask them to raise their hands if they want to have a business. 100% raised their hands. I asked them if they are would shell out a month of their salary to a new business. Nobody raised hands. So I asked them what they want to do as their business. They all said that they will use their skill to start a business. That I think is practical and wise but as Michael Gerber said in his book, skills alone do not make you successful. You still need to be scientific in your approach to starting a new business, most especially when you are trying to transition from being employed to self-employed. So how would you say goodbye to your boss and hello to business?
- Know yourself. Make an honest assessment of yourself. This includes your capabilities and weaknesses in terms of business knowledge. Know your risk appetite and how much you are willing to put in business; know how much money you can put in the business. Any amount of money will do, what is important is that you have an idea and an organized plan.
- Keep your day job until its time. Stay with your job. It is not very wise to jump ship when your business is not yet making money. I met a person once who is running an errand boy company. She has a good position in the corporate world, she kept it until the business is earning the equivalent or more of her monthly salary.
- Create a business idea. Have an idea. Everything starts with an idea, but this idea must be accompanied by action to make it into reality. Try as much as possible to create unique business ideas. You can get some info from business owners but of course your goal is to be different. And besides, they will not share their trade secrets.
- Know what you are getting yourself into. Manage your expectations. Many businesses fail within a year of operations because of lack of capital. Entrepreneurship is not an easy task, it is an uphill climb. But only those who stay reap the rewards. Be sure to be watching every cost during the start of the business.
- Develop your confidence slowly. Take one step at a time. Develop prototypes of your products and have it tested. If it is some sort of food business, sell it first to your friends and family and ask for an honest feedback. Little sales and little improvements build on your confidence. Collect them until your get enough confidence to go big time. Another source of confidence is learning. Learn from the experience of others; enrol in short courses so that you will get a different perspective of the business you are getting into.
- Invite other colleagues. The more the merrier. Invite friends to be partners in business. It is always best to be working with a friend or a family. But always remember to make your roles clear from the start to avoid any conflict in the future.
- Create a timeline. Develop a timeline for your goals. Make short term, midterm and long term goal with timelines. Timelines will give you an indication of how fast or slow you are growing. Make your goals Specific and doable.
- Plan with you family. Your loved ones will always be affected in the process of start-up. Of course you will always be busy, so consider them also. Plan with them or involve them in the business so they will have an idea of what is happening.
- Start small but think big. Every big business has its humble beginnings. Henry Sy started as a shoe vendor, Mang Inasal started in a parking lot, Splash, the makers of beauty products started in a backyard and Sulit.com started in a bedroom. The reason why you need to start small is because you want to save a lot of money during your first few months in operations. You want to protect your capital so you can use it to invest in strategies that will bring growth to your business.
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