Going Solo

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With more people working for themselves than ever before,  Shirley Jonas helps you to go it alone.

Why is it that when we think of going into business for ourselves, we neglect the planning? Are we so enamoured with what we want to do that we don’t understand what we need to do? We just want to get on with it, without getting caught up in the details. We often find reasons why we can’t do the finances or the sales side of the business. That is making excuses and excuses stink!

While it is vital to be passionate about your business, don’t let that blinker you to the administration, finance and legal requirements that are all key processes in managing/owning a successful enterprise. The notion of establishing your own business can be born out of various causes: frustration, working long hours for a small wage or the desire to spend more time with the family. Whatever your motivation, be clear as to what your particular WHY is, for it is this clarity that will keep you directed in lean times.

If you cannot make the leap from regular full-time employment to self-employment, that’s okay – do it when you are ready. But once you’ve made that choice, be well-equipped with the right tools. Don’t mistake your business for a hobby by not treating it seriously. Time is one of the most precious commodities when running your business, so effective time management is crucial.

How will you meet the reality of the time available?
Don’t waste time on unimportant tasks; but don’t avoid critical ones that you don’t enjoy or don’t want to do.
Have you got what it takes?
Some transferable skills may prove invaluable:

• Be logical, organised and responsible
• Be able to communicate and get your point across
• Be tough-skinned
• Be creative and imaginative


7 Keys to Success

1Create a business plan. It is so important to plan, plan, plan and, well, plan your business.

2 Your plan should clearly state the company’s mission. Get used to attracting sponsorship and funding; determine your marketing strategies; reduce time-wasting or indecision; and illustrate your financial forecasts.

3 Show that you are serious. Most important is what your business plan says about you. It shows that you are sincere about the business; you’ve done your research; you’re focused; and you realistically understand what is required to succeed.

4 Keep robust financial controls and reporting. You absolutely must keep financial and business records. Have a realistic budget; review your expenditure and revenue. Avoid using the business funds for your personal spending.

5 Educate yourself. There is a wealth of information available via CDs, books and the Internet. Your ability to adapt to change can determine the success of your business.

6 Get yourself a mentor. Learn from a master; find someone who has successfully managed their own business, as they can show you many of the pitfalls to avoid – hence the popularity of programmes such as Dragons’ Den and The Apprentice.

7 Remember: if you need help, don’t be afraid to ask!

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