Joan, one of the readers of this column, asked me recently whether it is right to proceed with her plans to quit employment and start a business this year in view of current political and economic developments.
She was referring to this year’s tough business environment and uncertain future occasioned by polls and political squabbling.
I knew she had made up her mind to start a business next year but she was developing cold feet and was longing for someone to encourage her to postpone her decision without feeling responsible. I was not that kind of person.
I told her political or economic situation does not make starting a business a less attractive option any time. In fact, most successful businesses were started during tough times.
There are advantages of starting a business when economy is booming. In such times raising capital is easy, there is good supply of money and customers have purchasing power. But there is a big difference between your economy and the general economy.
Even in good economic times businesses fail, people lose jobs and business risks and rewards remain unaltered.
The success of a startup does not only depend on the state of economy but also on your preparedness and choice of a business area.
Business is about serving people’s need at a cost they are able and willing to pay. If you get this right, you are half way to success.
To increase your startup success chances at any time you need to observe the certain things.
First, decide you want to start a business and you are ready to pay the cost of making it successful. Secondly, ensure there is genuine need for your offering and there are sufficient customers to buy your products in sufficient quantities and a price that you can make profit.
Thirdly, explore every detail of the business you are planning to start to ensure everything is right. Sometimes people rush into business because they know people in it who seem to be doing well only to realise things are not so glossy.
Fourthly, prepare a business plan. You don’t need to hire experts to do this. Put your ideas on paper and detail how you are going to execute them.
Look at the resources you need, the startup cost, how you are going to market your business, how much profit you expect and so on.
Finally, meet and talk to people in your industry and ask for their guidance and advice.