PART 1- Being an entrepreneur
There are many books that are written by experts on the subject of entrepreneurship. However expert or not, all can agree on almost similar traits required to succeed in the world of business. Nonetheless I’ve seldom heard the dark side of business for women, and how women entrepreneurs maneuver around the culture carried in the business world. I will start by sharing 7 things that one should consider before entering in the world of business and in my next blog I will share the dark-side of business for women.
1. Get all your paperwork in order
This may seem obvious but many of us don’t do this, I’ll go ahead and say it. Register a company, you can do it online, it's affordable. After having registered a company, open a bank account in the companies name. I know that this may seem unnecessary when you are running a small business, or when you are just starting out. However when you create a culture of excellence and professionalism early in your business, this attitude sets you up for success and growth. This also makes it easier to track growth in your business, and to separate your personal finances.
2. Have a clear vision
Have a clear vision, and purpose from the start. Why does your business or services exist? What would happen if it weren't there and what does that mean to/for you? When we don’t have a clear vision and a purpose for why we starting a business, when things get tough (and trust me they will sooner or later) we can easily want to give up if what we are doing has no impact on us or the world around us. However when there’s a purpose it will drive you and propel you to continue in those tough times. The “why” of your business is your compass, and it will always lead you back.
3. Choose who’s in your Team
This one is not always easy when starting out, but pick the right people to go into business with. I made a big mistake when I first ventured into business of partnering with the wrong people. I was young, ambitious, excited and not very wise. These people were much older (not that age matters) however I thought that, that meant they had “good business sense” in them. Well I was very wrong! When we started receiving funds for our business my ex-business partners went crazy! They took money from the business for personal use without my knowledge, they would have parties to “celebrate” a project that’s not even done yet, with company money, and they would make executive decisions without having an executive agreement on the decision. My opinion is; your team is even more important than you are because they become your ears, your mind, and your heart. Choose wisely, choose well and use discernment, trust your instincts.
4. Where will you get the money from?
I wish my stubborn mind could have understood this earlier or even better. Be very realistic about the financial aspect of your business. Yes have faith because God can do anything, yet do not overlook your reality or truth about your current financial situation.
Here are a few questions to think about;
Will you be putting up the start-up capital for your business or will you be looking for funding?
Who will fund your business, and what are the time frames?
How much will you need to get your business running and how long will that amount sustain your business, before it starts generating profit.
How is that model of business or services doing currently in the market and will it succeed particularly where you want to do it?
How much will you need to survive in the meantime?
If the business does not generate income for you in 6 months, do you have a financial plan to succeed in other areas of your life?
The latter may seem boring to those that are excited, hopeful and just eagerly ready to quit their day jobs and follow their dreams. I get it, believe me I’ve been there, and actually done that. Yet I urge you to please consider the financial impact of starting a business, because the struggle is real. You don’t want to be begging for money to survive after “following” your dreams. Take careful steps. I unfortunately didn’t do this and things get tough. Learn from my mistakes and plan with money in mind.
5. Become a student
Study and then study some more. As an entrepreneur there’s so many things that come up as I am growing in my journey, which requires me to study. Study money, and people who have money. Research and be interested in what is happening in other businesses, even those that aren't related to your trade. What I’ve been doing lately is join free online webinars and free online training in different areas of interest. You want to better yourself and your business. Learn, and not be scared of not knowing, because that is the beginning of a hunger to learn more. As an entrepreneur I have become brutally aware that I don’t know a lot of things but I am willing to learn. Also study successful entrepreneurs, that have similar views, and values as yours, and those that DON’T.
6. Prepare to fail and get things wrong.
A big part of being an entrepreneur is to embrace failure as apart of your on the job training, you’re learning. You will make the wrong decision and find out the hard way. You will invest money and time into something and it will fail completely and you won’t even know how or why it failed. However, do not let that kill your spirit but instead use it as fuel to continue, as a better, and wiser you. Do an autopsy of anything that fails in your business, and take all those lessons with you as you move forward. Don’t let failure harden your heart or hold you back, instead use it to embrace the future. Now whenever something fails or I get disappointed I get excited and say; “ I am glad this is happening now before this is a multi-million dollar company imagine the impact it would have then and all the people it would affect”, so I take the lessons and move on with gratitude.
7. Create your own team of #Squadgoals
It is very vital in the premature stages of your business to surround yourself with people i) who are in business already and are doing well, ii) Who support and want the best for you, iii)Who understand the nature of your business and can tell you the truth. As a young or “new” entrepreneur, we are fragile and if we have people with wicked intentions we might quit on something great too soon. It is key for us to be intentional about where and whom we get our advice from, because we want to protect our dream till it is mature to handle critics. Yet we also have to allow those who are wise, with pure intentions to guide us and correct us.
It is imperative to do due diligence before entering into any business venture, yet don’t allow yourself to over obsess about every single tiny detail, because some things get revealed as you take steps forward. Business requires bravery. So be brave. Conquer and succeed!
-By Zintle Ncipa
Certified Life Coach & Author