Setting Up Your Own Business

A few people have mentioned that while they like the tips and guidance set forth in these articles for businesses, there has been no article so far in my columns which actually speak to starting your own business. So, if you’ve been bitten by the entrepreneur bug, you’re in luck today!

While many people have great ideas, unless such is transformed into action, there is no business.  This is the part where some of us get sweaty palms and shaky knees. Yes, it may seem like a great deluge is upon you, especially if you make the mistake of asking a banker for advice. (Sorry in advance to all my banker friends!) However, if you look at the steps to establishing a business in a systematic way, it is relatively easy.

Here are some ways that can break it down:

  1.  A one-pager. Have you ever heard of the K.I.S.S. Principle? It works across sectors and organisations. Keep It Simple, Silly. Keeping things simple and keeping costs down is critical in the start-up phase. So, when you write your business plan, try to fit it into one page. I remember working with a gentleman who insisted on getting down to the nitty gritty – as he put it – in his proposed business plan. Needless to say, after ten months, he was still writing his business plan and frustrated those around him. He never started that business. A simple business plan entails a vision, mission, objectives, strategies and a simple action plan. I know of two ladies who started a business on a napkin at a bar. They outlined their business plan over drinks…and they have three branches of their business in three different countries today!
  2. Do the Math. For you creative thinkers, don’t get intimidated by the numbers.  Define your budget, that’s all I’m saying here. Be realistic about the numbers and add an extra twenty or thirty percent for incidentals, or what I like to call my “unforeseen fund”. While traditionally it is said that a business won’t make money in its first year, I beg to differ. In this age of fast and easy marketing, the hustle is real enough for you to make money in your first year of business. However, set aside some of your budget as a buffer in case it takes you a bit longer.
  3. Complete the paperwork. Starting a business costs money. Legally establishing it costs a bit more money. Register your business and ensure that you have a good lawyer who can do a thorough search to ensure your business name will stand out. I’ve seen two businesses recently – Shine Mobile Auto Wash and Shine Auto Wash. They’re competitors. See what I mean? Protecting your business name can only be done if you have properly registered it in the first place.
  4. Don’t mix your business with pleasure. It’s easy to start spending your business money on personal things, especially when the business is doing well. However, tax time will then become, well, taxing! File your paperwork properly and set up a separate account for your business only.
  5. Website and testing phase. Every entity can be found on the Web. Whether you create a site – and it’s extremely easy to create your own simple website – one resource I personally used is squarespace.com, or if you decide on Facebook only, it is important that your business can be found. Set it up, ask for some feedback and continually improve your product!

May your business be successful and grow from strength to strength!

Lots of love & good vibes, Veoma Ali

Veoma Ali is an Advertising Executive, with a Ph.D in Communications and a Masters in Business Administration.