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8 tips for an aspiring businessman

May 16 2014 15:40
Fin24
A Fin24 user is mulling starting his own business, but needs some guidance. He writes:

I would like to get information on starting a small business. What are the requirements needed to be able to prepare for it?

Currently I am still employed. Are there any training seminar(s) that are available that can guide me on skills to start my own business?

Business coach Bertie du Plessis responds:

Going on your own is a momentous decision to take and you should prepare well.

1. First make sure that you have enough money saved up so that you will have cash flow for six months to cover your fixed expenses such as bond, car, household. Don’t even consider it if you have fewer than three months' savings.

And don’t touch your pension money! You are not going to make money from day one.

2. I don’t know what you are doing; the best way to begin is by getting an outsourced contract from your present employer to supply some of the services that you now render as an employee - at least you know that’s a service people are willing to pay for.

When I went out on my own, I first contracted my then-employer and their major shareholder each for two days a week. So I only had one day a week to make up. That only lasted for a year, but it was a major lift.

The business I started was part and parcel of what I did for that company and an added advantage was that that company was entrepreneurial in the extreme, which gave me business training on the job.

3. If you want to go into a service totally different from your training or expertise, take a holiday and go and work, even if it is for free in that type of business, so that you get to know it from the inside.

4. The banks, in particular Standard Bank and Nedbank, give a lot of support for small businesses. Go and speak to a business relationship manager at any of their branches.

5. Business Partners support small businesses with growth potential. Go and talk to them.

6. Read on the internet about small businesses - for instance go visit the US small business association website - so that you can get an idea of profit margins, even if it is for the US. Locally, go look at the small business development agency website.

7. Avoid anything that smacks of motivational literature like the plague. The kind of “If you can think it, you can do it!” More people than I care to imagine have lost everything they had because they read motivational stuff from self-proclaimed entrepreneurs who can’t distinguish between luck and planning.

8. Make very sure that you can think like a business person before you take the leap.

All the best
Bertie du Plessis

- Fin24

* Share your experience of setting up a business or simply ask a question. Our business panel can put you on the right path.

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entrepeneurs  |  small business
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