Two of the focuses of my blog are Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. Once you start a business venture of any kind, you must always think about what’s coming next. Improving your operations will assure its survival. The following contributed post is entitled, How Can You Improve Your Chances of Business Success.
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Have you always fancied yourself as a business owner? Maybe you’re sick of being trapped in the rat race, or maybe you’ve always been told you have entrepreneurial qualities. If so, putting in the groundwork surrounding your knowledge and experience will massively increase your chances of success long term. Here’s how you can go about it, from the beginning.
Define what ‘success’ means for you
It goes without saying that a business can’t be successful unless it’s making money, so a lot of your success will come down to profit. However, there’s generally much more to it than that- most people want to be entrepreneurs and start their own companies for reasons in addition to money. Do you want your business to be a flexible way to earn money around raising a family? Do you want to do something that feels rewarding to you? Do you want to build your skills? Setting out these goals in the beginning can help you to carve your path in the world of business, it can help you make decisions that will bend and shape your business. Even if these objectives change over time, going into things with a good idea of what you want ultimately is a smart move and can help you gain success.
Many people have started businesses with no previous business education and gone on to do incredibly well. However, this isn’t usually the case, and if you want to increase your chances of success then getting educated is always a good idea. This could involve going to university and studying in a business related topic, if you’re early on in your career (such as being a school leaver or not being established in your career yet) then taking the time out to study full time is well worth considering. You will build an excellent foundation of knowledge surrounding all areas of business which can be absolutely invaluable when it comes to starting your own venture. While it’s possible to learn as you go, this involves a fair bit of trial and error which might not be something that every business can get away with financially. If you’re sure you want to be a business owner and are serious about success then start at the beginning, get educated and build your way up from there. It’s a better way to go about things than starting a business with no idea and hoping things work out.
Once you’ve completed your formal education you might be keen to jump into something of your own right away. However, what can be better is to gain experience working for someone else first. Whether it’s paid or voluntary, working in a similar company to one you eventually want to run yourself can teach you lots of valuable things. From what works to what doesn’t, which softwares is best and how they’re run, how staff are dealt with and much more. Again, it just means that you’re not starting up a business and then being clueless as to how to go about things. Education really does go a long way but it’s best combined with experience so you know how to apply it. Aim to do at least a year working in a similar setting to the kind of business you want to start up yourself, and pay attention to the way everything is done. By the time you come to start your own venture, you’ll know exactly how things work and won’t just have to guess.
Build up your savings
While you’re working for another company, this gives you time to save money. Starting out your business venture with a healthy bank balance is one of the best things you can do, while there are lots of business loans available, taking one out means that you’re starting out ‘in the red.’ This can put a lot of pressure on you in the early days, as not only do you need to be making a profit but you need to be making enough money to cover your loan repayments too. In the year or so before starting your venture, work on building up a healthy level of savings which you can use to launch your business, and have something to fall back on too if things don’t pick up as quickly as you’d hope. Even if you do need to take out loans too, it will mean borrowing a smaller amount and generally make things easier when it comes to repayments. So while you’re gaining experience working for a company you could be building your bank balance at the same time.
You don’t need to wait until you’ve started your business to start networking and building connections. Having a strong network before you start can be incredibly helpful when you come to start your own business. So attend networking events, open a linkedin account and take up any opportunities to meet professionals or relevant individuals in your field. Your college or university alumni is a good place to start when it comes to networking. These people can provide invaluable advice when you have questions that need answering or guidance if you have a good relationship with them. These can introduce you to new contacts, customers and clients too. Be mindful of connecting with direct competitors, what can be better is to find experts in related but different industries so that you’re not competing with them and instead your business can work with theirs.
Improve your skills
Finally, even once you’ve started your business and things are running well, don’t rest on your laurels. Things change so quickly that being successful involves keeping up, adapting and moving with the times. Even when you’re running a business you could take shorter courses such as diplomas and certification in your spare time. Having as much knowledge as possible, particularly up to date and relevant knowledge really can help you to succeed. Some courses to consider:
● Accounting and Bookkeeping.
● Business Economics.
● Business Finance.
● Business Management and Operations.
● Business Marketing.
● Business Support and Administrative Services.
● Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development.
● IT Security Degree
Even if you don’t plan on running these areas yourself since you’ll be outsourcing or have your own team, it’s useful to have the background knowledge to allow you to make the best decisions as a business owner.