Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11

Thread: Advice on starting a small business!

  1. #1
    Diamond Member wynn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    east london
    Posts
    3,338
    Thanks
    548
    Thanked 624 Times in 523 Posts

    Advice on starting a small business!

    All of the ideas given here are available from the Huffington Post at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/s...siness-advice/

    Starting the Journey of Entrepreneurship

    Taken from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anasta...b_2729215.html

    I always wanted to start my own business, but I kept postponing it because it was never good "timing." I thought that I needed to learn more or make some extra money to put aside before I started. Now I realize that the "right time" never comes. This expression is more of a distraction to justify one's indecision and lack of courage. If you strongly disagree with me, I can assure you that the right time can be invented with creativity.
    If I had to consider the parameters that matter, they would be talent (for sure), persistence (most important), leadership skills (to inspire your followers) and passion for what you're doing. Can you imagine what would have happened if the person who invented the wheel had waited for the "right time"? Another person would have invented it! Hmm, bad example, because we don't know who that person was, although he or she would have become super-rich with the patent's royalties. Now change the word "wheel" to "computer." You get the point.
    Searching on the Web these days, one can find a plethora of articles about entrepreneurship. Having a startup is the trend and the coolest thing, even better than carrying the latest Céline bag! Being in this journey the last four months, I still remember vividly how it all started.
    Funnily enough, I was waiting for the sign. I needed that encouragement from an invisible force to reassure me that I was on the right track. It was not the best timing for me to start my own business, because I had just graduated and spent all my money on my MBA, and I had just moved from Philadelphia to New York while still interviewing for corporate jobs (which, to be honest, were not that exciting).
    That sign came unexpectedly one evening when I was at a restaurant in the West Village. I was chatting with my classmates and waiting at the bar for our table to be ready. There, I pitched them my idea about Lady & Lara. After 15 minutes, the waitress said that our table was ready, so I turned to pick up my coat. Right next to me at the bar was a guy having dinner by himself. He looked at me and said that he had overheard our conversation and was interested in learning more about the venture, because he invests in startups. I was taken aback! Well, now I know why they call them "angel investors"! The sign that I was waiting to focus on my idea and take the leap of faith toward my dream and my unstructured future was right there. I exchanged contact info with him, although I must say that I didn't believe that he is an investor, so when I went home, I googled his name, only to find that he is!
    Long story short, I put together my first business plan and all the data I needed before meeting with him. Getting ready for that pitch was the best thing that happened to me; the mentorship and the relationship with my first angel investor was just the extra perk. The more I worked on my idea, the more I realized that I was capable of making it happen! This unexpected meeting was the catalyst.
    Fast-forward four months since then, and I have made a lot of progress with my business. I have a great team, I have put together a portfolio of fashion brands, and my website will be ready to launch any day now! There is interest from other investors, and I will soon be closing my first round, which will allow us to grow faster.
    I'm sharing this story today in an attempt to pay my good luck forward. If you are waiting for a sign, wondering if this is the right time to start your own business, and you are reading this, then that's your sign! Whatever troubles you or causes you to hesitate, I can assure you that it's irrelevant to your venture and is simply a distraction from your goal.
    "Nobody who has succeeded has not failed along the way"
    Arianna Huffington

    Read the first 10% of my books "Didymus" and "The BEAST of BIKO BRIDGE" for free
    You can also read and download 100% free my short stories "A Real Surprise" and "Pieces of Eight" at
    http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/332256

  2. #2
    Diamond Member wynn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    east london
    Posts
    3,338
    Thanks
    548
    Thanked 624 Times in 523 Posts
    7 Negotiation Techniques Every Small Business Owner Should Know

    Taken from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/1...n_4058588.html

    1. Figure out your top goals and rank them in order of importance. Are you looking to hire a supplier at a specific price? Tap into a new customer base? Look at your company’s short- and long-term goals, and know what matters most to you before heading into the negotiation.

    2. Do the research and come prepared with numbers to back up your offer. Look up the other party’s financials, study the market, and get familiar with the details of deals similar to the one you’re working on. You’ll argue more persuasively and have a stronger position if you can cite specific statistics; for example, the percentage of market share the other side can gain from accepting your terms or the number of other companies competing in the same space.

    3. Know what you’re willing to give up. You can’t always have everything, so identify the areas where you can be flexible and compromise in favor of things that matter to you most. Not getting expedited deliveries might be a deal-breaker for you, or perhaps you’re willing to go a little higher on price in exchange for more favorable payment terms.

    4. Know when you should walk away from a deal that doesn’t satisfy your goals. Set some clear boundaries before you start negotiating for what you can and cannot compromise on, and be ready to end the negotiation if these conditions aren’t met. If the other party is not able to provide a mutually beneficial offer, you’re better off politely stopping the discussion and looking elsewhere for a deal.

    5. Learn about your counterparty’s past performance to better predict what their interests might be. This tactic can help make your offer seem more appealing. For example, if the other party tends to prefer multi-year agreements, consider going into the negotiation with a two-year contract that they might be more likely to sign.

    6. Write down the outcomes that could make both sides happy. You might find that you have some common ground, such as in your growth plans or the price point you want to reach.

    7. Look at your own company’s resources to determine how you can use them to help seal the deal. Maybe you can offer additional value like having your marketing team help boost awareness for the other side’s business or perhaps your network can provide key business connections.
    "Nobody who has succeeded has not failed along the way"
    Arianna Huffington

    Read the first 10% of my books "Didymus" and "The BEAST of BIKO BRIDGE" for free
    You can also read and download 100% free my short stories "A Real Surprise" and "Pieces of Eight" at
    http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/332256

  3. #3
    Diamond Member wynn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    east london
    Posts
    3,338
    Thanks
    548
    Thanked 624 Times in 523 Posts
    5 Financial Equations You Need To Know

    Taken from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/0...n_3472323.html

    Cash flow may be the lifeblood of a small business, but the ability to create accurate projections and forecasts for your business is what moves it forward. Knowing what’s coming in and what’s going out, and being able to use that knowledge to plan and act is the only way a small business owner can effectively pursue and manage growth opportunities.
    Creating accurate cash flow projections is a key tenet of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program. By understanding the financial implications of a business growth plan, small business owners can estimate their funding needs, ensure operations are able to handle growth, monitor progress against critical variables, and make real-time adjustments. Here are five key metrics small business owners need to know when developing their forecasts.

    1. Profit Margin = Net Income ÷ Sales
    Your profit margin refers to how much money you get to keep after selling your products or services, accounting for initial outlay and investments. The amount of profit may vary from product to product and should reflect the total amount of cost outlay, labor and a small percentage of overhead. When it comes to forecasting, your profit margin helps you anticipate how much money will be coming in in the future, especially when matched with your asset turnover (see metric number 4).

    2. Current Ratio = Current Assets ÷ Current Liabilities
    Your current ratio tells you if you have enough money to pay off your short-term debts. In general, the higher the ratio, the better the financial health of your company, although you can have too much in cash. By knowing this ratio, you can see if you may be facing any capital emergencies, or — if you have a higher ratio — if you have capital available to reinvest in other parts of your business.

    3. Asset to Equity = Assets ÷ Shareholders’ Equity
    Your asset to equity ratio tells you how your business is being financed—either by loans or by positive cash flow. The higher the ratio, the more your business is being financed by debt.

    4. Asset Turnover = Sales ÷ Assets
    Your asset turnover measures how quickly you are able to sell your products. If your capital is tied up in unsold inventory, you can’t invest it in other areas of your business. The higher the asset turnover ratio, the better return you are receiving on your money. An accurate view of how long your capital will be tied up in certain stock items can help you see your true financial picture and also forecast what capital will be available and when.

    5. Payables Period = Accounts Payable ÷ Credit Purchases per Day
    Your payables period is what you owe (vendor payments) and what you are owed in return (client invoices). Daily updates of what you have due to come in and to go out will help you form a clearer picture of your business’ health and avoid a cash crunch.
    Robust cash flow metrics are critical to accurate cash flow projections and provide you with a sound understanding of the fundamentals of your business. By knowing the details of your cash flow you can efficiently run your day-to-day operations and confidently respond to new business opportunities.
    "Nobody who has succeeded has not failed along the way"
    Arianna Huffington

    Read the first 10% of my books "Didymus" and "The BEAST of BIKO BRIDGE" for free
    You can also read and download 100% free my short stories "A Real Surprise" and "Pieces of Eight" at
    http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/332256

  4. #4
    Diamond Member wynn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    east london
    Posts
    3,338
    Thanks
    548
    Thanked 624 Times in 523 Posts
    Delegating Responsibilities As A Small Business Owner: 5 Tasks To Take Off Your Plate Right Now

    Taken from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/0...n_3472115.html

    Leading a small business requires wearing many hats; CEO, CFO, bookkeeper and the first point of contact for customer care. You spend so much time overseeing each detail of your business, that sometimes it can feel like you don’t have the chance to step back and focus on actually growing it.
    One of the keys to achieving this leadership vision is delegating some of your responsibilities. This allows you to spend time on bigger ideas, like strategic growth. Below are five tasks you should consider delegating or outsourcing to others.

    1. Social Media
    While you should still be overseeing the larger message you are putting out through your social media accounts, delegating the actual publishing of tweets or blogs takes something off your to-do list. To save even more time, task the same person with writing your posts and managing publication calendars.

    2. IT Support
    Updating and maintaining software systems usually requires a significant time investment. Delegate this task to an office manager or employee comfortable with computer systems. If you don’t have anyone in your business able to take this on, consider outsourcing IT support to a third party.

    3. Book Keeping
    Cash flow is the lifeblood of your business, and knowing the day-to-day numbers of what’s due in and what’s to be paid will always be important. However, invoicing, bookkeeping and other necessary administrative finance tasks could be passed onto an office manager or outsourced. But remember, if you do outsource, schedule regular check-ins to review accounts receivable/payable and ask if there is an online system you can use for instant access.

    4. Customer Service
    Once customer service guidelines are in place, there is no reason for you to serve as first point of contact for every customer query or concern. Instead, task an employee with strong personal skills to respond to customers or answer the phone.

    5. Production or Labor
    A great problem to have is more business than you can handle. If your resources are already stretched thin and you are offered new business, you risk sub-quality work or over-burdening your employees if you take on too much. In this scenario, consider subcontracting out production or labor to another business or vendor. You can then continue to build your business without having to turn down potential new customers. If you are considering this, make sure you have everything in writing about what is expected and work with your tax and legal professional to ensure you are remaining compliant.
    "Nobody who has succeeded has not failed along the way"
    Arianna Huffington

    Read the first 10% of my books "Didymus" and "The BEAST of BIKO BRIDGE" for free
    You can also read and download 100% free my short stories "A Real Surprise" and "Pieces of Eight" at
    http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/332256

  5. #5
    Diamond Member wynn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    east london
    Posts
    3,338
    Thanks
    548
    Thanked 624 Times in 523 Posts
    Your 5 Brains: Harness Their Wisdom.
    (not to be confused with AdrianH and my problem with multiple personality disorder)

    Taken from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/judith...b_3056892.html

    Behind the Neuroscience of WE is a model for seeing our brains not as one brain, but as five brains -- each hard-wired to help us sort out and sort through our interactions with others.

    Reptilian Brain informs about threats (physical and psychological) to our safety.

    Limbic Brain informs us who is our friend or foe and how we can fit in-- relationships;

    Neocortex sorts through data from our senses, memories, and experiences, and helps us make sense of our reality--understanding.

    The other two brains work in concert to influence what it means to be human:

    Heart Brain our oldest brain, reads the biochemistry of our bodies and enables us to translate the energetic and hormonal messages that arise as we interact -- sensitivity.

    Prefrontal cortex or Executive Brain engages us with the outer world and the future, helping us grasp inner and outer Truths. By translating current information, impulses, and biochemistry, it helps us make judgment calls, have empathy, anticipate the future-- what I call Futuresite and Foresight.

    Our brains are made to be social so when we aren't paying attention to the work at hand, we are connecting with others--that is what our brain wants. Next time you are in a conversation, let the power of your five brains give you insight into how to respond.
    "Nobody who has succeeded has not failed along the way"
    Arianna Huffington

    Read the first 10% of my books "Didymus" and "The BEAST of BIKO BRIDGE" for free
    You can also read and download 100% free my short stories "A Real Surprise" and "Pieces of Eight" at
    http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/332256

  6. #6
    Diamond Member Justloadit's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Johannesburg
    Posts
    2,671
    Thanks
    88
    Thanked 544 Times in 460 Posts
    Blog Entries
    1
    Quote Originally Posted by wynn View Post
    Delegating Responsibilities As A Small Business Owner: 5 Tasks To Take Off Your Plate Right Now

    Taken from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/0...n_3472115.html

    Leading a small business requires wearing many hats; CEO, CFO, bookkeeper and the first point of contact for customer care. You spend so much time overseeing each detail of your business, that sometimes it can feel like you don’t have the chance to step back and focus on actually growing it.
    One of the keys to achieving this leadership vision is delegating some of your responsibilities. This allows you to spend time on bigger ideas, like strategic growth. Below are five tasks you should consider delegating or outsourcing to others.

    1. Social Media
    While you should still be overseeing the larger message you are putting out through your social media accounts, delegating the actual publishing of tweets or blogs takes something off your to-do list. To save even more time, task the same person with writing your posts and managing publication calendars.

    2. IT Support
    Updating and maintaining software systems usually requires a significant time investment. Delegate this task to an office manager or employee comfortable with computer systems. If you don’t have anyone in your business able to take this on, consider outsourcing IT support to a third party.

    3. Book Keeping
    Cash flow is the lifeblood of your business, and knowing the day-to-day numbers of what’s due in and what’s to be paid will always be important. However, invoicing, bookkeeping and other necessary administrative finance tasks could be passed onto an office manager or outsourced. But remember, if you do outsource, schedule regular check-ins to review accounts receivable/payable and ask if there is an online system you can use for instant access.

    4. Customer Service
    Once customer service guidelines are in place, there is no reason for you to serve as first point of contact for every customer query or concern. Instead, task an employee with strong personal skills to respond to customers or answer the phone.

    5. Production or Labor
    A great problem to have is more business than you can handle. If your resources are already stretched thin and you are offered new business, you risk sub-quality work or over-burdening your employees if you take on too much. In this scenario, consider subcontracting out production or labor to another business or vendor. You can then continue to build your business without having to turn down potential new customers. If you are considering this, make sure you have everything in writing about what is expected and work with your tax and legal professional to ensure you are remaining compliant.
    How many forum members who have their own business, have a staff member that knows a little more than switching a computer on?

    Whilst the points sound good, they are more aimed at a middle sized business which already has a manager in each department, so that delegating is not an issue. The reason we are fixing the IT issues, is that any qualified technician, who may know what to do wants a good few grand to pop in and fix your problem. Most times I have to do it, because the cost of a call out is too high and also while the problem is there, the business can not move forward until it is fixed.

    As we manage to grow, I will definitely be delegating more and more.
    Victor - Knowledge is a blessing or a curse, your current circumstances make you decide!
    Solar and LED lighting solutions - www.microsolve.co.za

  7. #7
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Durban, South Africa
    Posts
    20,976
    Thanks
    3,055
    Thanked 2,462 Times in 2,067 Posts
    Blog Entries
    12
    That series is a bit hard to absorb in one sitting.

    The thing that struck me in the first post is here is a person with an MBA who needed the guidance and nudge from an experienced investor to actually take the plunge! It would seem a great theoretical education isn't enough on its own.

    On delegation - Oh yes, mastering delegation is a critical element in growing a business. And may I emphasise the word "mastering"!
    It's not enough just to delegate. In fact there are few better ways to kill the potential of your business than with poor delegation.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  8. #8
    Diamond Member Blurock's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Durban
    Posts
    3,434
    Thanks
    660
    Thanked 765 Times in 630 Posts
    Blog Entries
    1
    An MBA does not make you an entrepeneur. Entrepeneurs are often semi-educated people, but they have a passion for business and a nose for an opportuniuty. (Richard Branson, Tony Factor and others come to mind)

    Having an MBA can be a drawback, as it also teaches you cause and effect. In other words, you realise the effect of a bancruptcy on your future, your family and your reputation. The fear of failure may cause you to hesitate just long enough to miss that opportunity that only comes along once in a lifetime.

    The lesser educated guy may jump in head first as he will not have such hangups. When he fails he will just get up and start all over again.
    Excellence is not a skill; its an attitude...

  9. #9
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    19
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    I have been discouraged more than once when it comes to starting up small business. However, i push on and there is light at the end of the tunnel. The best way to push through with a small business is persistence. Stop asking everyone and research, listen to people who have been there but calculate your costs so that you can predict the profit margin. Other than that, side businesses are a good idea!

  10. #10
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    America
    Posts
    15
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    Where should you go for advice on starting a small business? There are a few different places where taking advice can beneficial.

    Books

    Books can be helpful if you want to go at your own pace. There are some well-known celebrities like Richard Branson who have published business books. In my experience, these books have been really helpful because you can take your time and discuss them with others. Also, it is great to read biographies of successful business owners because you can see where they started and what they learned and experienced along the way.

    Forums
    Obviously this forum is really great for learning from others. I joined here myself and I find it amazing how much knowledge everyone has! It is great to find other business owners because you can share places or things you have done to become successful. It's practically free advice and building a network as well.


    Events
    I think this was hard for me to learn about at first. I attended networking events locally, but conferences work too. The best part about these events is, again, meeting other owners and finding out how they solved an obstacle you might have. The more you attend, the more people you know...I also think going to international events is another great idea because trade is so global right now. One example of global conferences I think of is here. Meeting people with different accents is always fun, and I love knowing that I am expanding my reach! I also love to travel, so going to different countries is something I want to do in the future.


    I hope you check out these ideas in this little mini-blog post and they help you find even more ideas!!

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Need advice starting a business
    By Riaanhar in forum Entrepreneurship and Business Management Forum
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 06-Dec-12, 10:46 AM
  2. [Question] Your best tip for starting a business
    By Blurock in forum General Business Forum
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 20-Jan-12, 09:02 AM
  3. [Question] Full-time contractor & starting a small business
    By bridgebin in forum Tax Forum
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 19-Aug-11, 10:07 PM
  4. Starting a Business
    By Olderwagen in forum General Business Forum
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 07-Feb-11, 09:53 PM

Did you like this article? Share it with your favourite social network.

Did you like this article? Share it with your favourite social network.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •