If there is a life, there are lessons to learn! There were times when family…
If you’re reading this, I’m sure that you desire to be your own boss.
Business – is on your mind & in your heart!
But you have doubts, inhibitions, confusions, question and a desire.
Do not worry. Where you are today, even I was there a couple of years back.
I was born into a business family. My grandfather started his small business in pre-independence days and as soon as my dad and uncles grew up they started their own ventures.
Living in a joint family I grew up hearing a lot of business discussions and meetings going around… The cherry on the cake was the little advice my dad used to give every now and then, which got etched deep in my heart & brain.
Business was not on my agenda until I started working independently. It was right after my graduation when I got placed in a small media agency. It didn’t take me long to take charge of my duties as a client service/ relationship manager. Since it was a small agency I took charge of all existing accounts as well started hunting for new ones.
I was young, inexperienced and charged up to prove myself. After so many flat no’s I finally cracked a couple of new accounts. Most of which were lead by young dynamic entrepreneurs who made me realise my abilities as a business person.
It was then I decided to prepare myself and work up the ladder. Two decades have passed since then.
From being a young dreamer I’m now a seasoned entrepreneur and a business coach.
I want to share with you my experiences and techniques of levelling up your flair for business. You can gather the vital steps required to set up a successful business from scratch.
Take one step at a time, and you’ll be on your way to a prosperous business of your own.
Phase I – Explore
Owning a business, being your own boss may sound very impressive and cool. But, running a successful business is a real task. Therefore, first and foremost one has to explore – inside and out!
Business requires Passion and Risk-taking Capacities of an individual along with the power to take the right decisions at the right time. Similarly, not all ideas make profitable businesses. Therefore, to validate yourself and your idea research is a must.
Explore within yourself, how as an individual are you capable of setting up and running a business.
One should deeply assess the strengths and weaknesses of self and the business idea keeping in view the individual capacities, financial strengths, the idea and product/service in focus.
Phase II – Research & Planning
Business research process encompasses swotting all aspects of your business including the demand and competition of your product/ service, its target customers or market, the finances required to start and sustain the business and then using that information to make sound business decisions.
Once you are through with your research and are positive about your business idea the next step is to put it on paper.
Make your business plan as a roadmap for your business journey. It will guide you and help you to keep track of your productivity and achievements right from the start-up phase through setting up and ultimately growing your business.
A full-fledged business plan is required only if you need to pursue financial support from an investor or financial institution. It is usually long and in-depth and has fixed sections that investors and banks look for when they are certifying your idea.
Otherwise, a simple one-page business plan will be sufficient to give clarity about your goals and plan of action.
You should also research and shortlist your business name beforehand.
Phase III – Financial Projection
Funds are fuel to start & run your business. Therefore, you need to understand and put together the initial investment required to set up and sustain for at least three to six months.
Your financial projections must include the following –
- One-time startup cost
- Capital expenditure
- Monthly operating expense
- Working capital reserve
You should be able to figure out how much money is required for your business and how are you going to use it?
In case of external funding search and narrow down the sources from where you will get the money from and how will you pay it back?
Phase IV – Choosing Your Business Structure
A business structure controls many factors of your business starting from the company name, to your liability, to how you file your taxes.
A business can be a Sole Proprietorship, a Partnership, A Limited Liability Company (LLC) or a Company (Pvt or Public).
It depends upon the individual circumstances of each business owner as to which structure will best suit their business. Each structure has its own costs and benefits which includes the level of personal liability you are willing to take for business debts, your personal tax position, the level of administration you want to do and how you want your business to be perceived.
You may choose an initial business structure, and then reevaluate and change your structure as your business grows and needs change.
Phase V– Registration, Licenses and Permits
All business require certain licenses and permits to run. When you’re caught in the delight of starting a new business, it’s easy to overlook the prerequisite for licenses and registrations.
Depending on the type of business you are planning, you’ll need the proper licenses and registrations from the appropriate agencies.
You may need to register your Digital Signature, Tax Registration, Trade License, Permanent Account Number, Trademark Registrations etc.,
At present, it has become an easy procedure to obtain different types of registration and licenses swiftly online.
Phase VI – Choose Your Bookkeeping System
An accounting system is essential in order to manage your budget, set your costs, record your financial transactions including purchases, sales, receipts, and payments, and file your taxes.
A strong and effective accounting system reflects your business strength and provides a consistent measure of performance.
Depending on the type of work and size of your company, you can select any kind of bookkeeping system. There are plenty of options available Day books, Bill Books, Excel files, Google Docs, Software such as BUSY or TALLY ERP etc.
Bookkeeping system should be an easy and regular practice for your business. Do not hesitate to hire help in case it’s difficult for you to maintain your books regularly.
Phase VII: Setting up your Office
Once you are ready to start your business, you need to select a place to site your office operations. As a freelancer or Soloprenuer, you can run your office from your home, whereas a small business setup with a couple of employees might need a formal/corporate office.
While selecting a corporate business location you may need to work out your budget, demographics, the current and future needs of your business along with the availability of fresh water and power, labour supply, transportation etc.
Phase IX: Get Your Team Ready
Strong, Successful and Effective – That’s how a good team should be!
Building a competent workforce is the core of a prosperous business. One has to chalk out the requirements and accordingly hire a team with the right mix of professional skills and ethics.
You may tie up with local job consultants or job sites for hiring staff. Set up a basic HR charter for the employees to follow.
A small team may work and report directly to you, a bigger team may require managers and supervisors.
Hiring is just a part. You will have to put a lot of time and energy in setting up your workforce.
As you grow along with your business, your office becomes your second home and the employees become your family. Accordingly, one has to nurture and retain them.
Phase X: Promote Your Business
Once your business is up and running, you need to start looking for customers. A good marketing strategy comes in handy to invite fresh clients and promote your new business.
A good marketing plan includes the apt use of PR, Media, Sales Strategies and Customer Service.
You can at least prepare your brand logo, business cards, company website, Email signatures and social media pages to start with.
For networking, you can even register yourselves on various business websites, join online groups/forums, ask for referrals from friends and family.
With the advancement in technology, there are a thousand ways to promote your business nowadays. You just need to identify the most effective ones that suit your needs and fits in your budget too.
I have jotted down all important steps that you need to take to set up your own business. Wishing you all the success in your business endeavours.