5 Things I wish someone told me about starting my own business

By June 12, 2017Prestigio

It is easy to find online content that hypes being an Entrepreneur or owning your own business. This can be inspiring to read but can steal the spotlight away from the very important task of having your business bases covered.

The way Prestigio encourages entrepreneurship is through education rather than through over-simplified hype.

Being successful is better than only dreaming about it and the road to success is best met with determination, creativity, and preparation. Here are 5 important things worth reflecting on before you quit your day job.


1. Self-Awareness is Strength

Know your strengths, your knowledge gaps, what skills you need to sharpen, what info you need to learn and what will be challenges for your personality. Of course, it is impossible to be an expert in everything but the truth is that in the beginning you will be responsible for every aspect of your business. Speak with other business owners who are further along in the process than you. Consider finding a mentor. [South Africa’s own Thunderfund has a mentorship program built in to their Crowdfunding platform].

Give yourself the tools you need to succeed by being aware of your strengths and weaknesses. With that knowledge as a foundation you can best utilize the freedom that comes with being your own boss and pursue tasks with intention and purpose. You will have to continually learn new skills – the Internet is your friend.

P.S. Don’t forget to make a plan for self-care and maintaining important family and friend relationships too. Time-management helps clarify how & where you are investing yourself.

2. It Won’t Come Easy

Do yourself a favour and expect the unexpected. The road is pitted with risks and the further you travel along it the risks increase. Never mind the negativity of often quoted statistics. Stay strong and be methodical in major decision making. Be ruthless in researching and be brutal in analyzing what will be best for your business. Be firm in your decisions and know that you can only make the best possible choice you have with the information available at the time. From time to time review whether business choices are leading to the results you want, if necessary change courses midstream.

The truth is building your dream won’t be easy. Challenges will threaten optimism. Starting with a solid plan and doing the preparation work before you register your business will go a long way to keeping you going. When the going gets tough, the prepared keep going!


3. Numbers Matter

Part of owning a business is immersing yourself in every aspect of it. Finances can make or break the best of ideas. Don’t be a short-sighted business owner who hasn’t dived deep into the numbers. To succeed you will need to know the numbers, not just your accountant if you enlist the services of one – & even then you MUST double check their work. This includes the costs of everything from marketing to paper towels. In depth cost analysis will need to go into product pricing and you will have to have a comprehensive understanding of how much revenue it will take to keep you afloat and how much more it will take to turn a profit.

To give yourself the best chance of succeeding, get down and dirty with all the numbers that will make or break your business.


4. The Devil is in the Details

All that paperwork that you think might go away – won’t. Admin can be a struggle but it is vital that you don’t flag. Presentations to funders, tax forms, and document deadlines matter, and they matter in very real terms. Unpaid invoices, or bounced bank transactions can pull your business under just as easily as anything else can.

Give yourself a healthy start by making sure your business complies with all government regulations [Read Prestigio’s Registering your business in South Africa] and ensure your tax identification number is properly filed. Decide whether or not your business will require insurance. Be specific about the structure of your business. Don’t just let it ‘evolve’ ; plan its growth so that you don’t get tripped up and fall into silly dramas that could have been easily avoided – how would you handle your business partner deciding to leave is just one example; prepare the terms, conditions & agreements whilst everyone is happy to be on the same page.

Don’t let the paperwork pile up. Start today on the important admin backbone of your business. Less idea generating and more concrete creation will propel you forward.


5. It is more than Fulltime & Totally Worth it

Don’t be surprised if you find yourself in deep. Being a business owner is a hat you wear 365 days a year. Especially in the beginning years, founding a business from the ground up will take everything you have got. It is likely that problem-solving, idea-generating, and ever important networking will consume a shocking amount of your time. It’s important that your StartUp is set-up to succeed before you quit your day job. Even after your business is launched it might be wise to keep working for the ‘man’ until your StartUp has left its fledgling days behind and is solidly in flight.

Figure it out as you go along but give it the respect to become a full-on gig. Adapt your plan to make it workable and life liveable but be prepared to lose some sleep and stay up late doing sums & sales-pitches. Take joy in the journey, keep your sense of humour, stay ethical and remember why you began in the first place.


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