Start that Business

A Practical Guide To Start That Small Business

Many people want to start a business or one small business by the side but don’t know how to go about it. What I am sharing is based on practical experience on all the businesses I have started.

Please bear in mind that when you decide to start a business, it does not mean that everything will go as planned. That’s why you must put the necessary things together and ensure you do the best you can.

Here are some simple practical steps I took. Remember that it is a small business that eventually becomes a big corporation or company.

Steps To Starting

  1. Find a need: This is the first step I expect everyone to take. Don’t start a business for starting sake, ensure there is a need you are meeting. Money goes towards those solving a problem. People don’t buy a product they buy solutions per time. As long as it meets a need someone will always buy.
  2. Identify the market: Look for a location where that solution will be in utmost demand and also plan how to reach your customers. It may be door to door, phone calls, email etc. Your goal is to reach more potential customers. That one person said he needs it doesn’t mean it’s in high demand. You must consciously identify the right market, this can be challenging, but it’s doable. You can just conduct a little research or move around within the environment and ask questions. This is a research done on a very low budget by you or one other person to support you. When I started my businesses I moved around looking for suitable locations and where people will definitely need my services. It turned out to be the right market.
  • Design or make the product:  Build your first prototype product, test it and ensure its fine. This could be food or other consumables, accessories or services you want to render. For services, just write out what you want to offer as a service, how you want to offer it  and the benefits to your potential clients, I mean what will make them buy it.
  • Estimate cost: This includes all it will cost you to produce one product. At this stage don’t leave anything out, ensure everything is added, including transportation and other miscellaneous expenses as long as it’s an input to the product or services. This also includes the cost of man hour required to make one product or put the service together. Also estimate at the worst case scenario, the profitability and what your expectations would be. Don’t exaggerate things; this is also where you make your projections on sales or customer recruitment.
  • Identify your competition: Not everyone doing the same thing is your competitor. That you have identified a need does not necessarily mean that everyone will rush to buy, because there might be someone doing the same thing within your environment who has generated a strong customer base and doing the well. Also note that, that there are competitors doesn’t mean you cannot do the same business, you can always improve on what the competitors are doing and do it differently; that is innovation. With a better strategy you can dominate the market.
  • Rent a shop/Office if need be: Some products or services might require that you have a physical location or an office. You must however ensure that this is not a major cost to you. You can rent a shared work space if it’s a service, where you pay stipends monthly without incurring additional cost for maintaining the location. You can also partner with an existing business within your location if you are selling physical product and pay a fraction.
  • Raise the Capital: This is very important. When  you have done everything else,  then realize that you don’t have capital to execute, the business idea remains at the idea stage. The easiest way to raise capital is personal funds, friends and family. It’s always better to raise your own funds no matter how small then you can meet friends and families to help with the rest. But in meeting them you must show them value or give them a part of the product you producing, people always want to see the value in what they are giving. Show them you mean business by ensuring they get a copy or package of the product or service you render. It’s just like inviting someone to launch a product and you give them a copy. There are also government grants or agencies supporting small businesses, look for them and apply.
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  • Get ready & launch: Assuming you have gathered the required capital, you then start executing with the plan you have. When I mean plan, I am referring to all that you have written in the steps I outlined above. Then open to customers and start selling.
  • Monitor your progress: Most people stop at when they open and think now they have a business. You must monitor and plan how to monitor your progress, One of the mistakes I made earlier when I started out is I took accounting for granted and at a latter day couldn’t reconcile some of my books, especially when the business grew. I had to add additional person to take care of that aspect for me. You must track your sales, income, expense, bills and other things that keep the business moving, including when your team expands.

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To your Success

Lawrence Obi

Entrepreneurship? Then Read This

Entrepreneurs design, build and run businesses. As one you must be able to create systems on how the businesses will run successfully.

Don’t let people deceive you that entrepreneurship is not for everybody, everyone has the capacity in them to build businesses that’s how God made us. Its either you are building your own businesses, or you are helping someone build the ones they have founded (Intrapreneurship). That’s what entrepreneurship is all about.

On systems

Entrepreneurship is not easy but its worth it. To make it easy, you need to start building systems and processes either before you start or immediately you start, systems help your business to run even when you are not there.
Don’t build the business around you but build it around your customers and the team.

People & Trust

Train your team so you can trust them, don’t employ people because you want to trust them, let people earn the trust by their contribution into the business.

If you have been running your business for more than two years and you can’t take a stroll, and nothing gets wrong? Then know that you are doing something wrong and be sure that even after 5years without you the business will still fail.

I developed systems even before I started any of my businesses. People, Systems and processes are the surest proof you need to sustain your business beyond you and the initial stage.

Simple Revenue, Profit and Cost Calculations

Making a profit in your business is a major indicator that your business is healthy; but note that profit is not all the money you generate in the business in simple terms it is

Profit = Total Revenue/Sales – Total Operating Cost/Expense

Operating cost are those cost that you incur while running the business these include
• Salaries
• Electricity
• Rent
• Water and other Bills
• Cost of producing the product, item or services.

Most entrepreneurs make the mistake of counting all their business have generated as their profit, so they spend based on the revenue, this is totally wrong, your revenue is not your profit.

In Simple terms revenue

Revenue = Cost of Item + Margin on Item or service

I have also noticed that a lot entrepreneurs don’t separate their personal expense from business expense, this is the beginning of fraud and bad corporate governance in an organisation. So the company owner see everything the company makes as his money and has the liberty to spend as he likes.
As a business owner you must be part of the payroll and your salary paid to your personal account just as others also get paid.

To move your small business to a different level you must set up structure and systems, this alone changes the outlook of your business to outsiders and potential investors, no one will invest in a business or take you seriously if it revolves around the founder only. It must be around the People, Products, processes and procedures.

To Your Success 
Lawrence Obi