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Thread: Let me step into the dragons Den

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    Let me step into the dragons Den

    Ok so lets imagine i am stepping into the dragons dens, and you guys are the dragons (though im not looking for money or investment...just advice for now)

    I am a 29yr old male living in cape town and working as a GM at an engineering manufacturing company. I enjoy my work but every single day I dream about having my own business, and each day I dream, I lose a day I could have been running my very own business, as small as my ideas may be.

    I would love to start a business in line with something I love, I love animals and I love food.

    IDEA 1 - PET/AQUARIUM STORE: initially suppose to be an 'aquarium' store only but in the area I am eyeing, an aquarium store would not be enough as a large chunk of the community have dogs and Birds, the idea is now then an aquarium store which stock also small animals (cats/hamsters/rabbit) and a range of birds, and accessories, food and toys for all pets. The only issue with this one is start-up capital, it would require a large sum, while I have saved a sum, and intend to sell one of my cars as well, this will still not be enough, so would have to maybe look at investor or loan or or...

    IDEA 2 - TAKE AWAY/FOOD: the idea is solid, the menu solid, the concept is there, but location is difficult one for me here, i have looked and looked and considered again and again but cannot decide on a suitable location for this type of business.

    IDEA 3 - CONVENIENCE STORE(MINI SUPERMARKET): I have identified an area which requires this kind of business, the issue with this one is finding premises in this area, i am still looking however.

    please bear in mind, these are ideas, who knows, i may end up opening a barber shop, the ultimate plan is to own my own business. i hope to start something up without leaving my current job just yet. i have a wife who is very much capable of managing a business for me,i will be available for the business after working hours and on weekends.
    i would like some advice from the people here who have successfully started small businesses. what to look out for, what to avoid, i am very afraid, but i promised myself i need to start something before i am 30yrs old, infact i should have started long ago but every idea just does not seem right.

    thank you all

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    Moderator IanF's Avatar
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    Biggs
    I would look at what lifestyle you want and try get the best fit business around that. The main factor being do you want to be on call 24/7 which some businesses require. I am next to a 24/7 pizza shop and only see the owner in for 2 hours in the morning. Then look at your interests and skills which you have done.

    Anyway good luck.
    Only stress when you can change the outcome!

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    Diamond Member HR Solutions's Avatar
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    Biggs - you seem to have that drive and ambition to succeed. Good for you.
    Im sure you will receive many tips and ideas to go forward, but if I may suggest one or two. Do a bit of market research into the area/product etc. Do something that is in demand with the public and then do it in the correct area. Be prepared to throw everything into it and work hard. Do something that you will enjoy doing - there is nothing worse than working at something and don't really enjoy it. And remember that having you own business is hard work - there are a lot of "hidden" things which you might not realise. But if you do it right you can have fun doing it
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    Diamond Member wynn's Avatar
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    Perhaps start an online aquarium supply business run from home, no need for a web site just yet but use facebook to all your friends with the same hobby and ask them to like it to all their friends in the immediate area.

    Beauty

    No unnecessary overheads beside purchase of stock, therefore markup will probably still leave you cheaper than the local suppliers and supermarkets,
    personal knowledgeable service and information to clients,
    no advertising costs to start,
    operate after hours which will probably suit your clients anyway,
    start small so you can afford the immediate costs without going into the deep hole of debt.

    Operate this way to start then add products until you are in a financial position to leave your day job, start a website to increase your customer base.
    You can probably run this from home permanently even when it becomes your sole means of income, the saving on rental and other overheads will go a long way to being the base of your income, perhaps a second hand container in the back yard for storage when the garage gets too small.

    Good luck!
    "Nobody who has succeeded has not failed along the way"
    Arianna Huffington

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    Thank you all so very much for the feedback and advice.
    @IanF, yes I understand what you're saying, and I am certainly a 24/7 person, if im not working, then something else but im not sleeping, it is my curse. I am a mechanical engineer, offer me an aquarium store or pet store making R30000 per month and offer me a Senior Engineer position offering R40000 per month, I will be in that aquarium store faster than you can say Fish.

    @HR Solutions, thank you for the kind words and the heads up, i am however not just ready for the hardships of owning ones own business, im excited for it, i really am.

    @wynn, The Online store did cross my mind, i didn't however look much into it, thank you the tips, advice and ideas, i will certainly explore a bit more this avenue and wee if i can make it happen. nightmare would be livestock i guess, i offer a 14 day money back guarantee on goldfish, and 14 minute money back guarantee on all marine life, lol just kidding. i wonder... for business with no premises (so run from home), no website (so using facebook), what would the best sort of business registration option for this be? considering the fact that it would hopefully grow in the future

    Thank you all again

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    Diamond Member HR Solutions's Avatar
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    It seems like fish is definitely your thing then ......... reminds me of a short motivational video called "Fish" - Catch the Energy. Release the Potential. Not quite about aquariums but very cool to watch it - it will inspire you. Its only about 10min long.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HR Solutions View Post
    It seems like fish is definitely your thing then ......... reminds me of a short motivational video called "Fish" - Catch the Energy. Release the Potential. Not quite about aquariums but very cool to watch it - it will inspire you. Its only about 10min long.
    Excellent watch. Definitely check this out (some versions on youtube, try this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZKiJejNRtw)

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    on the business...

    I can hear the entrepreneur (and youth) in your sentiments, and this is really great. I also think about the profile of person who is a GM at a young age and a mechanical engineer.
    The question I have, considering your (1) already workaholic nature - very good for entrepreneurs (2) technical abilities and (3) love of fish...
    Would you want to buy a PET/AQUARIUM STORE or build one from scratch? I would suggest that you build it. On this basis, the next question.
    Would you open this in a centre, or just off the main areas i.e. on a plot. I would suggest on a plot where you can start with a small base, and then grow it larger (think Plantland and future diversification)
    This could bring financing in from the bank to finance the plot as residential initially, plus of course the benefit of having a property asset.

    Biggs, you leave the impression from your mails that you would be happy running a small business, but considering your track record based on age and achievements, I would also suggest that this will only keep you happy for a while. Not knowing you, I might be wrong, but consider...
    Would you build a small, one-man business or a franchise? I would suggest, setup the business from start to become a franchise and you have the potential for growing a large franchise later.

    This is all from this Dragon
    ok, one more thing... HAVE FUN!

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BIGGS View Post
    I enjoy my work but every single day I dream about having my own business
    You seem to have a good job and good career prospects.
    What exactly is it about "having your own business" that seems so appealing?
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    i promised myself i need to start something before i am 30yrs old, infact i should have started long ago but every idea just does not seem right.
    Biggs, one is never too old or too young. You have skills. As an engineer you have a great advantage over your peers. You are obviously bored/uninspired/gatvol and full of ideas. That is good, because that is how innovation starts. I have also aspired to have my own business and have looked at different options including restaurants, franchises, the lot. Money has always been a concern and a restraint.

    Only when I started my consulting business and met with more people through networking did I find my niche in a manufacturing start-up. Its an opportunity that came our way and is the exact opposite of what I had been doing before. I am pleased to say that with a magic team with diverse skills, we have developed new, innovative products that are in demand and are recession proof. We have this week received our first export order.

    Your idea of doing what you enjoy is good. Keep looking and don't sell yourself short. See if you can combine your skills with what you'd like to do. Don't start a business just for the sake of getting out of the rut. Do not buy a franchise if it will restrict and frustrate you to work according to a predetermined recipe. As an engineer I suppose you would like a challenge and would look at something innovate that will keep your interest.

    Start your business by networking and talking to different business owners. Be patient. You will be amazed at the information and ideas that it will generate.
    Excellence is not a skill; its an attitude...

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