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THE DREAM OF RUNNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS IS ONE EXPERIENCED BY MANY. MOST COMMONLY, THIS DREAM REVOLVES AROUND YOUR AMAZING NEW IDEA. BUT WHAT ARE THE REALITIES?
One thing is for certain, you won’t have any shortage of well-meaning people wanting to give you advice, from accountants to Uncle Rob. Amongst all the wisdom, there is a fact that is hard to avoid—there is a high rate of failed start-ups.
1. All you need is one great idea
Yes, you probably should have a great idea, but believe me, that will almost never be enough! Remember Ralph Sarich and his Orbital Engine? (Younger readers may need to ‘google’ it). It was generally accepted as a great idea however fundamental flaws stopped Sarich’s invention from ever achieving its potential. Be receptive to any early feedback you receive – it may be that your one great idea could benefit from constructive advice.
2. If you build it, they will come
This famous line is from the classic 1989 film, “Field of Dreams.” When Iowa corn farmer Ray Kinsella starts hearing voices to build a baseball diamond in his field — sacrificing all the income from his crop — everyone thinks he’s gone mad. He proves them wrong, but that’s just the movies for you! In real life, letting people know about your new venture is a must. That might be a leaflet drop, a viral social media campaign or even TV ads. An understanding of marketing and your products value proposition is essential in getting the business off the ground. Just hanging out a sign and hoping is not a strategy.
3. You need a lot of money to get started
True, sometimes you do. But there is nothing wrong with starting small either. You could consider running your business part-time whilst staying in your current role. Valuable knowledge in the form of market research and skills can be garnered at this time, as well as critical early cash flow. Early success may also attract investors happy to provide venture capital funding.
4. You should do everything yourself
It’s tempting to tackle everything yourself in an effort to save money. But you may not be overly accomplished in all the skills needed to run a successful business, so bring in a team of people to help in areas where your talent is lacking. Consider areas such as bookkeeping, marketing, e-commerce and so on that can be easily and inexpensively outsourced, freeing up your time to do what you do best. You may also avoid the risk of burnout.
5. A business plan is your most important document
I’ll be upfront – a 50 page business plan for a start-up is a waste of time and money! Yes, you do need a plan, and while a large glossy document may impress your bank, that’s all it’s good for. (And if you can get started without a bank even better!) We have achieved great results with many clients working with them to create a ONE PAGEBUSINESS PLAN, encompassing their vision, key strategic actions and measureable outcomes. This succinct document becomes their road map for business success and when combined with focus and regular accountability drives them towards achieving their ultimate goal.
Phillip Cross, Royce Cross Agencies
Gloria Rowett, Marion Holiday Park