Entrepreneurship: Setting Up and Running Your Own Business
Becoming an entrepreneur and having your own business is really quite a different world than being an employee. Some people do both, and may succeed in both. You may want to initially want to keep your full-time job and work part-time on the sidelines, especially if you have absolutely zero entrepreneurial skills and experience. You do need the time to learn about the entrepreneurial spirit and immerse yourself in its culture. However, when the time comes and you feel that you must devote full-time in order to fulfill your vision, then you may want to plunge ahead. Perhaps have a backup plan, though, in case your
business does not turn out as smoothly as planned and you need to return to being an employee. It is quite a big risk to plunge into a business because you could lose all your money.
The following are just some very general guidelines and concepts on setting up and running your own business, but principles that you should at least be aware of. You may want to consult other sources for more detailed information.
Familiarize yourself with the law. Try to familiarize yourself as much as possible with the law in as many areas as possible, including but not limited to taxes, patents, copyrights, lawsuits, not infringing on other people's property, liability, insurance, renting or buying property, selling goods, importing or exporting, setting up a company name, a trademark, maintaining your company, hiring employees, firing employees, health and medical insurance for your employees, etc. You should probably familiarize yourself with both the law in your country, city, as well as international laws or laws where you may potentially sell or import any goods to. You may also want to meet with a government official in your area to ask them about the process of opening a business. Many governments also have programs that encourage the establishment of small businesses.
Write up a proposal. Write up a proposal of what you intend to do and how you intend to do it. If you do decide to borrow money from a bank other other financial institution, they may require certain ways that the proposal is laid out and outlined, so you should probably consult the institution or government agency in your area. Determine what will happen if you go bankrupt. Decide if you want to incoporate your company, or form some kind of limited company which will minimize losses at the personal level if your business goes bankrupt. It would probably initially be good to have your own money so that even if
you lose it you won't be responsible to bankers, and it's just your own money that you lost. However, try not to put your family life in jeopardy by pursuing your business dreams. Only excess money that you do not need should be put for business purposes. You should probably not borrow money from friends or relatives because you do not want to put your relationship in jeopardy because of your business dreams.
Determine if you want to go local or global. Remember that if you aim for a global type of business, you will be competing globally with companies across the globe. The advantage of that, though, is that you will gain a global share of customers if you can reach that potential audience. On the other hand, if you aim for a local type of business, you may have less but perhaps a different form of competition. Alternately, you could go for a bit of local and global, but this is a decision that you should make while forming your business plan, and perhaps revisit periodically.
Familiarize yourself with consumer habits. Try to gage or set up a gage very quickly in order to monitor customers' buying and spending habits. Be hypersensitive to what others like or dislike. Change if required and be flexible in your business. Set up some sort of feedback system where customers can easily give your company feedback. You want to know what they like or dislike before it's too late.
Provide excellent and over-excellent customer service. People will always remember you if you provide excellent customer service. Besides, that is what your business there for - to serve others. People may come back and place another order with you or may refer some illustrious client of theirs to you. Even when you feel that there is nothing to be gained from providing excellent customer service, it is still the decent thing to do.
Honesty is the best policy. Although businesspeople are probably not best known for their honesty and integrity, it would be good if you applied these principles to your practice. People will trust your business because you play fair with them, and it is the only honorable thing to do.
Set up a stop loss. Decide how long you can survive without making a profit before even plunging in. Decide also on when you will give up and do give up when the time comes. It is not worth losing money over the long term if you keep losing. It's fine if you lose because many companies do not survive, but at least you tried it and you tried it in an honest and realistic way without overspending or borrowing too much.
Get to know your competition. In almost any industry there will be likely competition of some sort or another. Get to know your competition well. Visit their website, perhaps their store. Know why they are successful (or not successful). Know why your company will provide something unique or different from the existing top dogs. However, be wary that those current competitors may enter your ballpark once you set up your business and they find that your idea is worthy of their attention, or a new business may come in and incorporate your idea with a new idea of theirs and bring your company down. Know how you will protect your intellectual property and your unique ideas.
Scale up slowly but surely. Feel free to scale up your business if your operations are running smoothly. However, do so with caution and perhaps slowly at first. Many businesses fail after the scale-up because they never recover from the losses. Try not to be too greedy when you decide to scale up.
Your decision to become an entrepreneur can be exciting, challenging, and rewarding. If you successfully set up a company that can sustain itself, you will become a leader in society by becoming an entrepreneur because you will have accomplished tasks with a certain degree of autonomy and with innovation. If you hire others, you will have helped others gain employment and perhaps learn from your own leadership qualities and management style. It is a great contribution to society and one that will change the world forever.
In summary, to become a successful entrepreneur, and set up and run your own business,
A. Familiarize yourself with the law.
B. Write up a proposal.
C. Familiarize yourself with consumer habits.
D. Provide excellent and over-excellent customer service.
E. Honesty is the best policy.
F. Set up a stop loss.
G. Get to know your competition.
H. Scale up slowly but surely.
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