Starting a Business

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INTRODUCTION

 This short course is designed for the entrepreneur who wants to start and run a successful business.Learn basic essentials ranging from planning,financing your business,marketing and exit strategy.The content in this course is easy to learn at your own pace.It is one of the various short courses in our BUSINESS COURSES.

DECIDING ON THE BUSINESS

The first step of starting a business is deciding whether you really want to be in business and whether you are willing to take the risks that comes with starting a business.The next step is deciding on what business you want to start.

 How do you decide on the business you want to start?You can do this by identifying your passions,abilities and your talents and turn them into a business.For example,if you are a good cook,you can start a catering business.

 Another way is to study the market,identify customer needs and market gaps and find ways to address them.Zuckerberg and his co-founders saw a need for people to interact and socialize.That`s how the idea of Facebook was born.Right now Facebook is one of the largest social media platform in the world.

BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS

 One you decide which business to start,the next step is to decide your form of business organization and whether you want to go alone or with a partner(s).This depends on your business needs.The following are the major business organizations:

. Sole proprietorship

. Partnerships

. Limited Liability Companies

. Corporation

 Each business organization has legal requirements which have been discussed in details in the BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS COURSE.

BUSINESS PLANNING

 Once you decide on your business and its structure,you need to develop a plan-short term and long term plans for your business.Identify you ultimate goal then develop short term actions that will help you achieve it.Business planning is a continuous process and keeps changing as market trends change and new customer needs arises.

FINANCING YOUR BUSINESS

 Money is king.No business can survive without money.You need money to hire staff,buy equipment,invest in marketing among other business costs.There are various ways to raise money for your business venture:

i) Personal finances: this includes personal savings,family inheritance and money raised from family and friends.This is the best way to raise money at the start-up stage since this is money that doesn`t need to be paid back.

ii) Loans: this is money borrowed from friends,family,banks and other financial institutions and has to be paid back.One disadvantage is that it has to be paid back with interest whether your business makes profits or not.

Iii) External investments: this is money given to an entrepreneur by interested individuals who in return get a share of your company-referred to as equity.These people are called angel investors.One advantage of this type of funding is that unlike loans,this money doesn`t have to be paid back.In addition to funding your business,investors may bring expertise and experience valuable to your business.Some of these investors have been senior executives or founders of successful companies and they bring that experience to the table.

 However,the disadvantage is that you lose full control and ownership of your business.You don`t have full decision making power since you have to consult them before making critical decisions.

 Before deciding which option to choose from,you have to access your business needs and choose an option that fits your needs and goals.

 

 Explore different business funding options.

DELEGATION

Delegation is the process of sharing roles and authority among your staff members.As the leader of your business,you need to focus on the big picture;the future of your business.You need to be working “on” your business not “in” your business.You need to keep an eye on the competition.You need to create a succession plan for your business.You need to create the next leader to take over after your exit.You can`t function at this level while doing the “small” stuff like updating your social media accounts,keeping books,filing returns and handling customers.You need to relieve yourself from these stuff in order to focus on the “important” stuff.You need to identify people to handle the day-to-day activities of the business.

 When hiring people to do various tasks,you should access their strengths and allocate roles based on people`s abilities.delegation will ensure responsibility and accountability.You mentor and empower your employees to ensure effective leadership at all levels in your business.

 Delegation will not only help you focus on the bigger picture but also help you build an organization that can function without you.This will not affect your business in case of sudden sickness or death of a founder.This will also ensure a smooth exit from your company.

MARKETING

 No one will buy your product unless they know it exists.No one will know it exists unless you say it.You have to tell a story about your business and your brand for people to know it;that`s marketing.You need to know who your customers are and tell them about your business and your product.You need to know where your customers are and be there.You need to convince them to buy from you and not your competitors.You do this through effective marketing strategies which have been discussed in our DIGITAL MARKETING COURSES.

EXIT STRATEGY AND SUCCESSION

As the founder and leader of your business,you need to think about the future of your business.What happens after you are gone?The CEO or founder might fall sick and be unable to run the business.Worst case scenario,the founder might die suddenly.This is a big blow to the business.Employees might be demoralized and the business might fail.

 As the founder,you need to plan for such incidences and prepare your business to survive when you are no longer around.Right from day one,you should have a succession plan.Identify someone who is capable of taking over after you are gone.Start mentoring him/her by sharing your vision with them.This vision is the reason you started the business and it is the same vision that will drive the business once you are gone.

 However,your exit doesn’t have to be a result of sickness ordeath.You might exit due to old age,or to pursue something else in life.Whatever the case,your business has to be prepared to survive and thrive without you.Browse our BUSINESS SUCCESSION COURSE and you will learn how to identify the next leader,life after retirement among other issues related with business succession.