I must confess that I’m no guru, and I’ve made my fair share of mistakes in business and in life. That said, instead of curling up in a ball and letting the world get the better of me, I decided to pick myself up and learn from my mistakes. It was my way of turning a negative into a positive and it helped me see things from a different perspective. One of the biggest challenges that I faced in my career was balancing the finances of my company. When I started out, I didn’t have an endless supply of capital so I really had to pick and choose where to invest and where to tighten the belt.
If you are considering starting your own business or even if you’re looking for a way of solving your current financial concerns, here are the main ways in which I was able to go from struggling to start up, to having a thriving small business. I intend on to continue along this path of success, and I hope to grow my business even more within the next few years.
Your business plan is your map to success. It should detail every aspect of your business so that you can maximise every opportunity that comes your way. Think of your business plan as a kind of check list which you can work through step by step. You will set a main goal as well as several milestone goals along the way to ensure that you stay on track. If you are planning to borrow money from a bank or another investor, you will most certainly need a business plan to present to them in order to secure the funds you need. You will need to detail your expenses, projected sales and staffing solutions as well as short term and long term goals.
Good marketing means proper planning. Your marketing plan details how you intend on achieving the goals set out in your business plan. Remember that you will need to conduct market research, define your unique selling point, and positioning statement too.
As they say, you need money to make money. You will need to make some kind of investment in terms of equipment, raw materials, renting premises and so on. Personally, I found that by setting up my virtual office space with Vizz Business Centre, I was able to save on my initial start up costs. I didn’t have to take out a mortgage on a business property and pay a deposit. I also didn’t have to pay rent along with a security deposit and sign a long term lease. Even more than this, I didn’t have to buy or rent office furniture, so the money I had access to was put to much better use, by investing in manufacturing equipment and materials.
Employ additional staff
It is really scary hiring somebody when you’re not even sure if you’ll be able to draw a salary for the first few months. What I learned was that you simply cannot do it all yourself. Personally I’m not a sales person, so I decided to hire a commission-based team of home workers who would follow up on leads and drive sales. In addition, I outsourced for my online needs instead of trying to do it all myself. I had no idea how to create a website and I didn’t have the time to manage my online presence so I contracted a company on a monthly basis for these purposes. I’m not tied to any long term agreements, I simply pay them monthly, and if I no longer require their services I can cancel at any time.
Understand cash flow
Hiring an accounting professional is a great way of making sure that your books are all in order. That said, if you have a basic understanding of business finance, you can do much of the work yourself. I learned this from my mother. She managed her business herself, kept track of everything, and then handed it over every quarter to a professional auditor for review. Why pay somebody a full time salary for a part time job? My business has grown nicely and I still don’t need to hire an admin professional. One day however, I anticipate that I will need to employ somebody full time when the work load exceeds my capabilities.