Succeeding From the Start
- The ability to communicate effectively with a wide range of people is essential
- The ability to negotiate favourably with purchasers and suppliers and sell your products or services is also a necessity.
- A keen interest and knowledge of your market the place where you will satisfy the need for your products and services is vital.
- There needs also to be an understanding of how money comes in and out of your business and knowing the financial health of your business at any given time.
You may not need to be an excellent financial manager, or Marketing Person but I do believe that one needs to have a good working knowledge of the different business areas and feel comfortable to engage professionals where needed to bring their professional input to the development of your business. Let’s take branding for example – The brand being that which distinguishes you from others in the same market or business sector- With working knowledge, you could do some initial work yourself on defining the name of the business, the colour scheme, logo, business stationary, web site and your unique selling point, and they bring in a professional to add the professional element. Or if you had good accounting knowledge, you may only need an accountant can produce your financial information in a way that meets legal obligations. Where you have a clear strength in any business operational area, it may make sense to save money there by doing it yourself where possible.
It is wise for people starting out in business to keep costs down as much as possible, but not to try to be expert at everything at the risk of not properly developing your service or product. I met a woman once who said she was taking a course in Marketing, Accounting, etc. Using the example of say a fashion designer, I throw in a word of caution not to get so involved in becoming an expert in every business discipline required for running the business to the point at which you stop designing effectively. Get family and friends to help where possible with some of the work so that you can focus on what you do best.
Essentially running a business is like juggling balls in the air, and one of the keys to success as a new business is knowing how to keep all the balls in the air. The balls can be described as knowing your market or industry and keeping abreast of developments; making business contacts and creating sales for your products or service; keeping abreast of orders and distribution; financial management and statuory requirements; Marketing Communications and Planning; and Business administration and premises management.
Your business will eventually reach a stage of growth which will present a new set of issues to manage. However, for now though, another key is focusing on your vision/motivation for going into business.
Above all, you need to enjoy whatever it is that you do, having a passion for it keeps you going when the going gets tough, find a good way to relax as you will need it every now and then.