It’s great that you’ve decided to take the brave decision and start the ‘business’ you’ve always dreamt about. Now what next?
It might appear that activities like registering a business name, sorting out TIN, opening Bank accounts, renting office space etc are the main things to focus on at this point. However, to run a successful business that is here to stay, you need to keep your eye on some key things from day 1.
And of course, for you ‘veterans’ who have been in business for a while, I’m sure you will find some useful nuggets here as well. However, more importantly, we want to hear from you.
Without further ado, let’s dive right in, to find out the 4 things you want to watch out for:
This is number one, because it determines the type of people you attract and how you work.
So what is culture? It can simply be described as the traditions, custom, values or ‘the way of doing things‘, which you want in your organisation. According to the Harvard Business Review, leaders should leaders should think of their culture as the first and most important business model that they create.
The key thing to remember is that every organisation, no matter how small has the culture This is the reason why people in companies say things like ‘we don’t do this here’ or ‘this is not how we behave’. So irrespective of if your culture is planned or not – it happens.
How do you implement this?
At the very basic level, you should take out time and write out some key values, attributes and beliefs which you want to be present in your company. Then communicate it to the rest of your team, so that collectively you can all be aware that this is your goal.
Folks, this is 2015. Not 1965. You can’t and shouldn’t run a business without having the tools to understand it.
This is very important, so please let me break it down; for instance if you run a store and you’re relying on ‘I’ve got it on top of my head’ or ‘let’s use pen & paper’; then you’ve got it wrong. If you use tools that don’t provide up-to-date real time information,dump them immediately.
Well let’s think about it: if you receive Facebook notifications to let you know Bisi has posted a picture (of her new boyfriend), why shouldn’t you know that you’ve sold out on your best products (Chanel hand bags are always hotcake)? Even better, why shouldn’t you be notified that you’re running low on stock?
Imagine if your emails from Gmail were only delivered to you once a month, wouldn’t you feel that is ridiculous and change email providers? Then why do you stick with a software or process that can only be updated once a month? You need information and you need it in real-time. Real time information means you can make decisions backed by data and intelligence.
So what are the alternatives?
I’ve written in the past how tech companies will stop ignoring Nigerian Companies. To provide you specific examples, if you run a retail store then you should get Point-of-Sale software to help with the day-to-day running of your store. PrognoStore (my firm) is coming to solve this problem.
It might sound obvious. But a company that doesn’t keep its eyes on profit will not be around for long. Just to be clear, as a new business it’s reasonable that you wouldn’t make profit for a while. However, countless business owners have said that, ‘focusing on profit too late’ was one of their biggest regrets in running their business. Don’t be one of them.
How do you know if you’re making profit if you don’t have proper records? That’s why tools (#2) are so important. You really need to understand your numbers from day 1, get a grasp on the basics such as cost of goods sold, running expenses (electricity, transportation, etc), salary, fixed costs (rent, subscriptions etc) so you don’t have any nasty surprises down the line.
Finally, you need to watch out for ‘You’. Your health matters. Your psychology matters. It affects everything. How you handle pressure, success, disappointments, everything!
So what do you do? Take more breaks, delegate more and be determined to look after yourself. Your business depends on you functioning at your 100% best.
Did you find this useful? As a bonus, take for free my 36 Page eBook on Own Or Starting A Retail Business All You Need to Know. Let me know if you find it useful.
Over to you ‘veterans’, let’s hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Mimagephotography