I always receive e-mails from blog readers, asking for my advice and tips on how to start and or grow a business.
Indeed, having your own business is fun and challenging and, if it's profitable, it can make you financially independent. It can enable you to be your own boss; you become an employer instead of an employee. For many people, having their own business can permit them to realize their dreams of having a lot of money and traveling around the world.
Yesterday I received an e-mail from Susan Wong, who introduced herself as a work-at-home mom from Hongkong, asking: “How would I know if I have what it takes to start and grow my own business?”
The question seems simple enough but many would-be entrepreneurs are looking for answers.
So, to start and grow your business, what resources and steps do you need to take? Here’s the basic requirements:
1. Business Plan. Before starting your business, you must have a guidepost, a blueprint for success. This is the business plan. It must be a clearly laid out plan touching in all facets of your business to provide you with the direction and guide for implementation.
Without a business plan, then you can’t get anywhere. A business plan will map out what you need to succeed and how you will achieve your goals and objectives, including your profit objective.
2. Market Niche. A good business plan must include a market study, but a market niche is important, the reason why I’m emphasizing this. Your business must have a specific target customers, with their own needs, wants, tastes and preferences. You must know what your customers need, so that the products and services that you will offer must answer their needs. It is only when you provide customer satisfaction can your business grow and succeed.
3. Capital. How much capital do you need? You must have money to cover capital outlay and revolving or operating funds for your day-to-day operations.
Any business requires some form of investment, and you will need to know how much you have and need, to sustain your operations before it can generate income and profit.
Some entrepreneurs believe that it would be good to start your business while you are still employed, so that you have a “fall back” position, e.g. some income to live on while you are still building your business, or a job in case your venture ends in failure.
4. Customer Relations. As mentioned earlier, providing customer satisfaction is a basic requirement, without which your business will not prosper. The way you run your business and relate to your customers will spell the difference between success and failure. Be prepared to “go the extra mile” with your customers. Care about them and provide them with quality products and services that they need.
5. Skills, Experience, Attitudes. You must treat your business as a full time job and manage it professionally.
Having the five basic requirements as discussed above will help make your business grow. Starting a business is easy, it’s how to make it grow and profitable that is hard. But starting your business right will enable it to grow and become profitable. The rest is up to you—if you have what it takes.