Yesterday, as I was observing my early morning exercise routine, I came across a banner advertising a school. Something didn’t go quite well with me about it: the name of the school. "It started with Ass....
I am sure they had good intentions naming the school and maybe that was a combination of two names or whatever, but the truth is the interpretation could be ambiguous and it leaves room for all sorts of funny thinking. Nothing against the school, I just find the name funny and I asked myself; Would I want to enroll my kids in a school with that name?
So today, we will discuss the basics of business, the to-dos from conceiving the business to the point of take-off.
God is a Businessowner, Life is a Business, we are all a bundle of His investments and we should take a cue from that. It's good to earn a fat salary on an 8-5 job, but year in year out, you realise there's more to your life than rising through the ranks of a company( if you do rise). Owning your own business gives an expression to the talents you have within and it's a joy to be able to meet people's needs.
Having an attractive and a successful business is dependent on a number of factors and there are a couple of things everyone should bear in mind when starting out. This post comes handy also for existing business owners too.
I see around here in Nigeria, a lot of people operate using registered business names. Whilst it is convenient, easy and cheap to do( maybe with about N15,000), you would realise there are businesses your can't bid for using a just a business name.
Few points to bear in mind before starting off:
1. What kind of business do you consider doing?
Let's see a few of the types that exist.
a. Sole Proprietorship- You are the sole owner. You enjoy all profits and you are solely liable for the debts and losses of the business. If the company should fail, creditors are allowed to lay hold on your personal assets to liquidate their debts.
b. Partnership: Two or more people contribute resources; money, labour etc and they agree to share profits and risks of the business. All partners are liable for all debts of the business
c. A variant of this is a Limited Partnership- same as a general partnership except that losses when incurred are limited to the extent of each person’s investment.
d. Company: Limited Liability
A company is owned by a group of people called shareholders. They are those who put their money in a central pool and their investment is managed by Directors. They receive profit in form of dividends as an equivalent of the amount they invest. Personal Losses are limited to the amount they invest.
e. Franchise: A franchise allows you to use another company’s successful business model and name to establish your own business. E.g Opening a branch of TFC or Mcdonald’s in Ibadan or maybe a Victoria’s secrets outlet in Lagos, Nigeria (that will be a fab idea! ). I hear Walmart is coming to Lagos soon....(maybe not on a franchise arrangement though).
f. A Joint Venture is formed for a limited length of time to carry out a business transaction or operation.
g. Not for Profit/NGO: A legal entity created for a particular goal(s) and without a profit making intention. A nonprofit organization raise funds from the public for their operations
2. Choose an Attractive and Appropriate Business name. Whats your brand? How would you want to be known. Honestly, I know I want favour, but I most likely won't engage a "Favour Accounting Services" for any professional need or patronise a "Peace Catering services and Events ventures" to cater for me! They may be good but they don't sound attractive. The world has advanced much more than that. A lot of business owners are leveraging on technology. Get contemporary and attractive names for your catering, make-up, or whatever outfit!
3. Have a blue print/business goals
It's not just about registering a business, you must set out to render the best services/products in town. Where would you want your business to be in a couple of years?
4. Learn, research, acquire the necessary skills. Some tailors, sorry, fashion designers can't finish up a cloth excellently. It's a sad thing for your customers expectations to remain unmet and unsatisfied after you've been paid! Nothing beats a smile on the face of a satisfied customer. Sometimes on some blogs I read online, I see photos of what a customer orders versus what they get. Some are chaotic to say the least. If you don't have a hang on something yet, the best you can do is to give it out as gifts! Not as services yet.
5. Start small or big; however, just start. Start from home, give samples, volunteer. You don't have to rent a space yet (because you have some extra resources). If you can work from home :share space with someone. Start somehow, and your diligence would be rewarded. Never despise the days of little beginnings. If you are able to endure the rigour and sacrifices of starting small, then you qualify for enjoying the dividends of the business when it grows big....
6. Avoid receiving or giving credit if possible. We have spoken extensively about debts. Dave Ramsey the renowned Personal Finance Expert opines that we shouldn't invest with Debts. For those who like to buy products/ enjoy services on debts even when they can afford it, being indebted has definitely become a habit for you.
7. Have the Business necessities:
Open a abusiness account: Don't give out your personal account details for the purpose of receiving funds for a business transaction. Haba, some compnaies won't even pay you.
Create a website: With a few bucks, you can get a website designed for you. You can learn how to too!Get business email addresses. Don't send a business proposal from "Iamfavoured@yahoo.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. You will come accross as an unserious fellow. These things are not expensive to set up
Complimentary cards- Imagine writing your number and email address on a small sheet of paper for people at a networking event? Doesn't show seriousness.
Explore your social media options- Free adverts on facebook, twitter and Instagram. Those forums aren't just there to satisfy people's gossip appetites. Some have established empires by making the best use of social media.
Plan ahead to put your books in order: taxes, audit etc. Do it right too.
8. Have a growth plan
Se a conglomerate when you can't even afford glo recharge card. You become what you fixate your thoughts upon.
In another post, we will look at other things that will make your business succced.
I see you at the top!
On a daily basis, we feature words of financial wisdom from different Smart Stewards members and sometimes from Guest Contributors. You'd be glad reading them. Enjoy!
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