Through the years, I had collected my short list of pointers-to-live-by as a startup entrepreneur. These might not be principles others would agree with, but these work for me as they came about from my own learning and observations.
Below is my personal list of what I call “baby steps to prepare as an entrepreneur”.
- Accept that nothing is easy. Just be realistic. Do not assume that running a business is like going to work as an employee at 9am and leaving for home at 6pm. See, employees do not generally care whether their companies’ revenue is rising or dropping each month (unless it impacts their salaries). Neither would most employees think about whether most of their customers are happy (again, unless the employees are in Sales, or if customer satisfaction is part of their performance metrics). On the other hand, both the revenues and customer satisfaction should be two of the things that would matter most to you as the business owner.
- While you still do not have much cash, be ready to multi-task. This may be the more sensible option to hiring employees at the start of your small business. Learn how to wear many hats: Bookkeeper, sales person, marketing person, administrative officer, and communications officer.
- Once you start earning regularly from the business, you can hire people for certain tasks. Just make sure you choose the best candidates. If you plan to get your cousin or sister or son-in-law as say, your administrative officer, assess first if he or she has the competency for the job. In other words, make sure you are hiring him or her for the right reasons: Just because your relative is unemployed is not enough justification to hire him/her.
- Related to #3, remember that you are in a business to profit. It is good to help relatives but ask yourself this first: Are your relatives going to be assets to your business, too? If you are honest enough to admit that some might only be a hindrance, then do not hire them for roles they cannot do well. Do not turn your business into a non-profit social welfare agency.
- Read, study, discuss. Even if you were born with a brilliant mind for business, there are still certain aspects of business that you will probably have to learn more about. Read books (or just google). Attend trainings on the legal, financial, communication, and marketing sides of business. Find your mentors, discuss and do not be afraid to ask questions.
- Aim to pay your creditors on time. In the long term, your lenders should look at you as a borrower they can trust. You build your credibility this way.
- Do not make a habit out of borrowing from one hapless victim so as to pay an overdue payable to another lender. You think you are being creative with how you handle your debts? So wrong! You are just prolonging your agony. Just make it a practice to pay off your debts on schedule and do not complicate the problem.
- If you yourself are already lacking in funds, learn to say No to the borrower. Saying No does not make you are a bad person. If the borrower’s reason is not a matter of life and death, do not feel guilty about turning him down. Just make sure though that you do it with utmost tact.
Are there some more tips you want to add to this list? Share with me by adding your comments below.